Valentino and the Real World

The dream of the Valentino fairytale princess dresses is something that Pierpaolo Piccioli masterfully created since he started his venture alone at the helm of Valentino. This time, he presented a woman that loves to dress in white with elaborate shirt dresses or in fluorescent colours, both long and short with puffball sleeves. For those who love prints and decorations, there was a series of long dresses inspired by Henri Rousseau’s naïve floral imaginary. Aside from the fantasy formula of Valentino’s shows, which often lack a sense of reality, it was a depiction of a woman that doesn’t exist in real life. The two tailored jackets in highlighter fuchsia and black were not enough to bring that aesthetic back down to earth. The rockstud spiked fluo bag on sale in a see-now-buy-now formula the day after the show is not enough to reach real life; the desire of a gown cannot be summed up in a pouch. The ability of a modern couturier is to bring reverie into real life. Piccioli always chases the extraordinary, but sometimes this is a story that can be told with simple words that, if beautifully composed, can be extraordinary as well.

“I feel very relieved to present my first prêt-a-porter collection for Schiaparelli,” said Daniel Roseberry, the Texas-born designer appointed last November as the new Creative Director, to NOWFASHION during the intimate presentation in Place Vendôme. “After my first couture show, everybody kept asking when there would be a Schiap wardrobe for every day. So here it is.” The collection consists of 10 items and various themes from colourful parrots to swimming pool blue tiles, from flowers to leather, some of them related to the world of Elsa other to the designer’s imagination. “The ones I feel closest to are definitely the My Little Pony-inspired looks, as they are playful and colourful,” he explained, a kind of modern mirroring of the jolly universe of Schiaparelli. “Then for sure the hairdryer one where human hair has been scanned and printed on silk satin to pay homage to Elsa’s beloved surrealism. The all black and gold looks were inspired by music speakers, and the Texas disco cow motifs were from my hometown.” The jacket was the hot item: lapel-less with a slightly rounded cleavage which was expressed in different colour options. Some of them were perfect for everyday life, but most were a bit too exaggerated and a bit too playful and less desirable. The prêt-a-porter collection is the trick to pushing accessories and widening the market. The “secret bag,” their core model named after the maison’s signature lock, evolved after its first presentation – adding the vertical stumpwork for the “secret trapunto” model. The competition is fierce; let’s see if this handbag can unlock a lot of hearts.

Here we are again in the Versailles-inspired enchanted garden with panier hips and meringue hair. And here we are again with another performance by Thom Browne, acquired by the Italian Zegna group in August 2018. The collection was the follow-up to the menswear presented last June. It was all about seersucker in sorbet hues to remind us of the East Coast preppy mixed with a 1780s Versailles style and 80s punk notes in the hybridized pleated skirt and the soundtrack that alternated opera music with heavy metal songs (not punk). The ability of the American designer to build architectures to wear is undoubtable, but those show looks are not wearable off the runway so it would be exciting to see Browne to challenge himself again with a collection of real clothes showcased with a new formula that could illicit more of a response. He created a style that defined the new tailoring, and surely it could be the right moment to go back to his roots and move forward to reinvent an updated elegance à la Thom Browne for both women and men.

Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy imagined a parade of women that go through time and space. From Paris to New York, from today back to 1993. She described the aesthetic shock of moving from the sophistication of the French capital to the Big Apple: romance vs toughness. The American tomboys were clearly there, the famous distressed denim with masculine long jackets or tailored suits for tomboy looks. On the other side, the glamour and bohemian chic from Paris were on display with the silk blouses and dresses, the flower print gowns and high boots with an 80s flair. “I wanted to free the woman, but I don’t want her to lose her confidence,” explained the designer backstage. “Empowerment is not only revealing; for example, I think that not wearing a bra is too revealing, and I don’t like to show that. Even the light chiffon dresses were made to not show what’s underneath.” The concept of Waight Keller was clear, but the editing collection looked a bit confused, jumping back and forth from bourgeoisie to masculine. Maybe this was done on purpose, but the final result was not as clear as expected.

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