The house of Valentino has created some phenomenal collections over the years. But Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s creations for the label’s Fall 16 RTW show comprise one of the best collections I’ve seen from them. Perhaps it’s the long love of dance I developed years ago as a little ballerina. Or perhaps it’s because the graceful looks were quiet, yet stunning.The collection was not just about ballet, but also a commentary on the buzz surrounding the see now, buy now model many fashion labels are trying to move toward. Maria noted how the collection was intended to let us stop and enjoy the moment in this frenetic age of constantly increasing our speed due to the instantaneous nature of the social media machine.
For those of us lucky enough to enjoy life before the digital explosion, this collection is a happy reminder of the simpler moments we used to have every day without the competition for our attention our electronics have unwittingly created. And the see now, buy now model is another example of that churning momentum that Chiuri and Piccioli are resisting against.I totally get it. I love the irreplaceable experience of the runway fashion show, and I am not advocating for its removal! But I also love the idea of being able to shop right off the runway, right after the runway. I know…I want my cake and to eat it too.
The show started with a pianist placed in the audience playing music by John Cage and Phillip Glass. One by one, the models glided down the runway, in less model, more dancer gait wearing classical ballet attire. You know the walk – back arched a bit more, almost leading with the hips.
Layers were soft, fluid, and sensual (sans sexual) in mostly draped and pleated jersey. The color tones were organic to the ballet world – muted sophistication in black, nude, and pink. Soft sweaters, jackets, and skirts acted as dancer’s wear cover ups.
The collection was enhanced by more intricate looks, like a black leather mini dress and similar midi skirt in adorned with gladiator style rectangle and square metal plating (seen above). Flowing, pleated skirts and dresses in sepia tones had patterned geometric shapes and lines.
Tulle dresses were tufted in fur and feathers as well as sequin and jewel embellishments. There were little nods to a few easily identifiable themes in ballet, like the bad girl Black Swan in a leather jacket over the tutu, and the star of Swan Lake in a very literal white swan feathered tutu. Sequins outlined one sheer midi dress in the shapes of clouds while pear colored peacock feathers outline another.
The best looks were incredibly detailed, but simplistic in design. Slinky, skin grazing, soft material that just begs to be touched. If only more of my closet was made out of materials that soft and gorgeous at the same time.