COUTURE COLLECTIONS: VALENTINO
by Jeremy Danté
PARIS – of the many collections presented around the world, each year & season, the house of valentino is one i’ve become most affectionate towards. the house of valentino is one that i was always aware of & overtime, i’ve become much more aware. aware in the sense of the brand’s history, it’s development, it’s hardships & the point of valentino’s own retirement from the company; as well as the reasoning behind it. an in-depth knowledge of any fashion house, i feel, is necessary in order to really appreciate a direction, archival references or even trends. in the realm of haute couture, techniques take the place of trends as the traditional & historically valued take center stage before anything else. this season, the house of valentino continues to build a digital presence, as this season’s collection was the first ever couture live stream. the presence of film & media are currently surrounding the house, from my perception. upon valentino garavani’s retirement, the house has seen radical, modern changes in areas of style, branding & advertising. a move which has to be benefiting the house, granted i think they’re doing a really dope job at things. it’s always tricky when a fashion house enters a transformation, or goes through an image overhaul or, for lack of better articulation, a make-over. the modern transformation the house has taken on definitely takes into consideration the houses history & preserves the value of design that was put fourth by valentino himself.
speaking again in reference to the connections to film, remember that awareness of valentino’s history i mentioned? most of that uncovering of truth about the fashion house was discovered in my viewing of the documentary, ‘valentino: the last emperor‘. the documentary sheds a great deal of light on the rise & fall of valentino, while uncovering how ugly & tragic it can be for true artists & designers working in fashion, transitioning from the old ways of the industry, to the now much more globalized format. from the purchased stakes by luxury investment groups, to seeing the atelier bicker about construction of gowns; to valentino’s last runway show- everything was shown. the frustration, the glamour, the history & the future- it was all touched upon. it was that connection & understanding that really reshaped my perception of the house. what i love of current valentino creative directors, maria grazia chiuri & pier paolo piccioli, is their awareness. with the two working at the house under valentino himself, prior to their promotion; they honor the values & legacy of the italian label, which i completely admire. while sitting & watching the live stream, i welcomed the collection into my psyche. this season, i wanted to take more time to focus on each houses inspiration. i think an overall vision of a collection is better translated when you understand what was looking to be represented through design. the recurring theme of film again devoured this inspired collection even further.
upon seeing the valentino documentary, i decided to really bulk up on films that inspire me. in close reference to who i have become inspired by, people i have come into contact with; i’ve had strong connections to image, style & music but none as strongly established to film. over the last year & a half, i’ve been collecting films that represent a form of nostalgia for me or allow me to see something i haven’t seen before or just inspire my love of style & art, my love for design & aesthetics. amongst my collection are an assortment of fashion documentaries, historic re-tellings & concert DVD’s. usually, in an effort to stay inspired, i just let them play, while i continue to do other things- i’ve seen every one multiple times & really only am interested in films that make me feel a certain way. through glamour, through love, through vulnerability, through triumph. one of the films? sofia coppala’s marie antoinette. i remember one day, alone in my room, i sat while the film just played. i remember hearing the same piano rift from kanye west’s “blame game”, from his ‘my beautiful dark twisted fantasy’ album. while the film played in the background, the sound of that rift stopped me. i sat, just staring at the screen- taking in the scene thinking of the creative process & how kanye must’ve heard this same rift from the film, which then provoked him to use it for his album. i posted a tweet of my discovery but due to lack of enthusiasm from my followers, ended up deleting the tweet. as others who’ve followed my work or me, as a personality, can attest; i’ve been very vocal about coppola’s antoinette, finding aesthetic inspiration in the costumes & setting of the film. while watching this season’s valentino couture live stream, as floral print from the collection began to hit the runway; delicate & feminine as if from another time, i thought to myself. “reminds me of marie antoinette”, then the same kanye sampled rift played during the show’s runway soundtrack. immediately, i sat up, much like i did upon my own discovery of the sample during the film. avril 14th, played by richard james. from the original motion picture soundtrack of sofia coppola’s marie antoinette. reading up on the inspiration of the collection, there it was- thirteenth century marie antoinette, in her garden of versailles was listed as this season’s inspiration for the collection.
there is a scene in the film that really struck a cord with me. in the story, marie antoi, as she was affectionately called by her mother, would meet regularly with a dress maker & hair stylist. in one scene, kirsten dunst, whom played the french queen, met with her dress maker & said, “i want something more simple, natural- to wear in the garden”. this soon followed an extensive garden scene. content & at peace, that same feeling is what i felt seeing the collection. the fact that i am able to pin point where the sound, style & film references come from is amazing. in this wide world of inspiration i’ve created for myself, immersed in sound, style & imagery- a sense of accomplishment. as an artist, i was able to translate a complete & total vision, delivered through design & sound. from milan, through a computer screen- i interpreted their vision, spot on. it’s these moments, these mere glimpses of creativity; that act as reassurance for the artist that i have become & the artist i am meant to be. while i could talk about the flowing florals, or compare this season to last couture season- i won’t. i’ll let you interpret the collection as you want. simply put i was stunned by the collection for it’s direction & loved every moment of the eleven minute show. collections like these are why fashion exists- they take inspiration from one place & house them for a world of people to see- vulnerably allowing them to be either persecuted or praised- much like marie antoinette. the symbolism that i am able to define, the connection i am artistically able to identify- that. is. fucking. fashion. [source]