As thousands of African refugees fleeing violence and poverty flooded into Europe, there had been an almost equal backlash against them, as European citizens protested against the financial and security impacts during the inception of this collection.
Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli wanted to counteract this backlash with a runway message that “we think every person coming here is an individual, and we can show that we can improve ourselves by understanding other cultures,” state Chiuri. “The message,” added Piccioli, “is tolerance. And the beauty that comes out of cross-cultural expression.”
The result was a thought-provoking collection of Italian-African fashion fusion in complex, abstract layers. Beading and embroidery create tribal designs embellished with feathers over silks and sheer tiered dresses. White ceramic choker necklaces are shaped like animal teeth.
A terra cotta goddess gown is ruched and draped into a halter neckline bound by a gold choker embellished with a tribal mask pendant. A long black suede fringe-bottom cape vest is studded on the shoulders and slung over a black peasant dress. Strips of studded long leather create a gladiator look, and are combined with a tribal studded chest piece. Stunning prints of animal paintings are paired with linear geometric outlines on Roman silhouettes. The entire collection is thoughtful, intricate, and so beautiful. It is clear their hearts are in this collection.