Surfaces. Valentino Resort 2023

Valentino‘s resort 2023 collection was conceived as a precursor to the spring 2023 outing which we’ve seen about two weeks ago. Stripped of the stagecraft of the show, it was representative of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s line of thought, both conceptual and visual – and it honestly felt more convincing. “Fashion shows are there to solidify the narration around your values and your identity,” Piccioli said. “Resort is the moment when fashion speaks its own language. There’s no storytelling here, just work on construction, cut, silhouettes, color. It’s just moda, fashion, in its purest self. Of course, for me, clothes are always about how real people inhabit them.” For Piccioli, there’s no moda without humanity. He named the collection “Surfaces“, emphasizing the visuals of an all-over, head-to-toe silhouette where textures and shapes were turned into a sort of minimal continuum. While Piccioli has been toying around with minimalism for quite some time as a way to highlight the individuality of the wearer – “you reduce the excess on the garment to spotlight the attention on the face,” he said – it’s actually a concept rooted in Valentino Garavani’s 1960s aesthetics, when lines were pure, volumes were close to the body, and decoration was kept to a minimum. Fluidity was an element of sensuality that didn’t detract from the purity of design. Resort was in conversation with those style fundamentals. At the spring show Piccioli indulged in fluidity and movement enhanced by an abundance of sequined shine, but here he kept the silhouette neat, slim, and very short. Trim contours and head-to-toe maximalist surfaces were in evidence, for example, in a black macramé lace slip dress paired with matching thigh-high legging-boots, or in a mini shift dress encrusted with white lace, which somehow stretched into matching stocking-boots edged with leather. A day-evening ensemble, comprised of a dramatic long drawstring circle gown in amethyst faille, cinched with a marigold sash and worn with an oversize double-breasted blazer in cinnamon taffeta, was contrasted by a pristine white cotton shirt with macramé details. It highlighted not only the designer’s eye for color – no PPPink, thanks god – but also the cool spirit of versatility, the mixing of codes, and the couture flair that he’s persistently after. Punk or bourgeois, timeless or not, it definitely sparks joy.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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