Scene setting: For S/S 2018, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli was inspired by canto XXXIV from Ludovico Ariosto’s The Frenzy of Orlando, a 16th-century epic poem in which an English knight called Astolfo flies in a chariot to the moon to collect the main protaganist’s wits in a bottle. Piccioli too was on a journey, switching up the show’s regular location in the ornate rooms of the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild to a cavernous hall at the Lycée Carnot, a secondary school in the 17th arrondissement. The school is where the founders of Daft Punk met; a band also associated with a space-like futuristic aesthetic, due to the duo’s love of sporting oversized helmets. Piccioli’s offering for S/S 2018 – one awash with plastics, intrepid windbreakers and interplanetary paillettes – was like a Valentino-approved sojourn into outer space.
Mood board: This was a modern and glamorous space mission, made up of silhouettes both romantic and utilitarian. Like clear plastic biker jackets adorned with silver sequins, dusty pink overalls, performance-focused anoraks and cargo trousers with outer pockets in pastel pinks and golds. Sequin tops were imagined in mauves and golds, like abstract interpretations of the Milky Way, and mini dresses were printed with colourful polka dots like tiny tessellating planets. Of course, every girl needs a good evening gown, astronaut or not, so there was a bubblegum pink bubble dress, an orange column dress with a cascading collar and a bright red mini with a rippling ruffle. A series of dresses also riffed on the more romantic codes of the house, like long dresses embellished with floral blooms, gauzy lace pastels and sketches of landscapes – perhaps of another planet?
Finishing touches: Cute bow-detail velvet court shoes subverted the more utilitarian silhouettes in the collection, while practical slip-on sneakers were embellished with rhinestones. A series of studded bags were slung from the waist using straps which joined at the back for hands-free ease. All excellent accessories for the future Valentino customer come spring.