In the couture fashion community, it is Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino who is the clear history buff. In a cocktail party, surely he would be the one regaling us with the chronicles of Elizabethan English garb and how they influenced theater costuming for centuries. And don’t kid yourselves, we’d all be riveted – even the party outliers, because this man is a genius who can take his passion and make them our passions. That’s his gift.

And for the Fall 2017 couture collection, Piccioli looked not so far from his shop’s doorstep for divine inspiration – the Vatican. Think the polar opposite of 1980’s Madonna Like a Prayer. This collection drew inspiration from portraits of 17th-century painter Francisco de Zurbarán, realized in hooded capes, and robe-like silhouettes.

And this moment is pretty much primed for sheathed and cloaked evening wear, billowing and breezing down the runway. A Handmade’s Tale and Game of Thrones are just two of the period dress trending pieces in media right now, and this is creating major visual inspo. In this vein, Piccioli presented a tempered collection of chaste(ish) looks, in embroideries and layered fabrics and textures, heading the way of minimalism when speaking for the house of Valentino.

The daywear was a barrage of incongruently hued looks in strawberry, banana, chocolate, mint – smoothie anyone? – of layered separates. Youthful attitude moments came in relaxed trousers, tunics, capes, and wide silhouette coats. A single off-the-shoulder tunic midi in chocolate has a low-dip plunge, creating a sweet heart neckline, yet its heavy cloth makes it feel monastic – such an interesting visual dichotomy. Shades of blue and brown are layered and embroidered with lace panels over a sheer white pencil skirt and matching tunic. A complementing chocolate toned long sleeved pullover cape adds some weight to the look, and I do believe this is the most playful thing I’ve seen Piccioli ever put out.

And of course, dreamy nightwear is exceptional as always. A blue and white panel gown was laced delicately together with florals, patching in midnight velvet swatches along the inner elbows and shoulders, and pleating softly down the skirt. Gorgeous. A grey-white lace dress looks like an adult coloring book collector’s dream, with some of the sections filled in by trimmed feathers. A sheer magenta ruffle skirt dress over a dangerously low cut bra top with high waist briefs is simple, but high impact. A pearlescent shimmer fringe halter moment is fantastic. And that olive toned sweet heart number with batiste cotton and bobbin lace with just a few pops of richly hued velvets…heavenly.

Looks to wear to church? Probably not. But perhaps divinely inspired.


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