Valentino S/S 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Valentino S/S 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Scene setting: Guests were back yesterday to the grand Hôtel des Invalides on the Rive Gauche, where a few days ago the First Céline show by Hedi Slimane took place. This time, though, the Valentino show was on the opposite corner of the building, far from the gilded Napoleonian dome and past a little jardin à la Française. A permanent tent was established there a few years ago and works as a conservatory of sorts, featuring an array of cacti, succulents and other exotic plants which, alone, gave us a clue of the collection we were about to see.

Soundbite: ‘I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about the idea of paradise, and especially about the way artists throughout history have gone to these far away lands to explore their art and their identities’, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli said backstage after the show. He warned, however, that this collection was all but an exercise in escapism. ‘I think it’s more about being able to further become oneself. At the end of the day, you can do that anywhere.’

Best in show: And become more himself, Pierpaolo did. His collection was one surprise after another, starting with a series of sepulchral black gowns (Kristen McMenamy opened the show in a bustier taffeta number with puff sleeves) which progressively morphed into an explosion of colour in the form of sequined and feathered chiffon, silk and tulle dresses. But if these could at first be mistaken for fairytale princess gowns, they were effortlessly brought back to earth with the help of accessories including feathered slide-ons, raphia totes, straw hats and coppery hoop earrings. On the way out, an enthused editor stated ’I would wear everything’. That was the definitive review.§

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