PARIS – regular beauty was the main focus of this collection described as “sensual but severe” by one half of valentino’s creative directing duo, pier paolo picciolli. the house of valentino is one that i feel emotionally connected to, for some odd reason. especially now in the new modern era of the label, i identify so vividly with the way that they represent beauty in the form of fashion design. there is an elegance that is well executed, each season- but doesn’t look to dramatization, loud music or elaborate inspirations. it’s controlled, thoughtful & gradual. i say gradual in that, over the course of the last few years, valentino as a label has made such a valiant effort to compete in the ever changing atmosphere of high fashion. live streamed shows, modern concepts & a kardashian in the front row have all seemed to be intelligent ploys at elevating the label as a conversation piece. though the celebrity co-sign is not needed, in my opinion, it does help.
i wanted to close my reviews of the FW12 couture season with valentino, considering the level of simplicity & effortlessness that is represented in design. it’s that type of simplicity that i am most responsive to. though simple, a certain level of drama was shown in the lines of the collection. the silhouettes were feminine & sophisticated, the glimpses of skin that were made visible through the sheer textiles, the romantic use of floral print on the gowns- it was all very delicate. the runway soundtrack was as whimsical as the gowns as frida gustavsson opened the show in a gorgeous sheer, navy gown. floral elements have seemed to be a staple in the valentino collections in both ready-to-wear & couture, this season they made a smaller cameo. i was surprised to see that the collection also included valentino red, which is a color iconically associated with the house. in seasons past, it has been apparent that the use of such a tone in the palette was avoided to somehow give birth to this new era that the house is so fully engulfed in.
while the runway video as well as the runway images from this collection do no justice to the clothes, i felt the video was much more powerful a reflection of the atmosphere & physical presence that the clothes are promoting. presented was a range of garments, some much more elegant than others but the overall vision never flew of the track of cohesion. it was distinctly valentino. not the valentino of the past, not the old school vintage valentino that used to dress jackie o. & elizabeth taylor- but the new school valentino, the modernized & elegant valentino of the future. respectful nods seemed to reference many of valentino’s own archived collections, but still there is a separation there that is recognized. from their menswear collection & now to couture, i am extremely pleased with the environment being created by the house of valentino. even down to the digital announcements for their live stream shows each season, there is such a vital importance of modernization, especially through a technological approach with fashion houses these days. all around, this collection being further evidence- the house of valentino is winning. im not talking figures or bullshit about corporations- but im talking through creativity. a beautiful victory.