The 2010s / Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Couture at Valentino

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s Valentino and making fashion FASHION again.

Pierpaolo Piccioli’s couture for Valentino is the only couture that really mattered in the last couple of years. No crazy venues that attempt to distract you from noticing how plain the collection is. Just pure, joyous, glorious haute couture that enchants and truly impresses. And makes Celine Dion cry. The spring-summer 2019 collection was a triumph of audacious colour, beauty and glamour. But also, it was a major model casting breakthrough, with completely diverse models that made the garments even more exquisite. The designer embraced black beauty, having Adut Akech open the show (in a brilliant, pink ensemble) and Naomi Campbell close (in a gown made out of translucent organza in the shade of Chocolate Dahlia). There was Liya Kebede, there was Lineisy Montero, there was Ugbad Abdi. Runway icons, veterans, and newcomers. The entire scene looked like a fairy-tale… that really took place. This couture collection showed to what extent colour is crucial for Pierpaolo, especially in terms of his haute fashion. “You don’t invent beauty, but you can invent new harmonies for colour”, the maestro said backstage. Just read the following: a coral coat worn with a chocolate crepe blouse and emerald gabardine pants. Lilac serape topped a pair of orange pants. Turquoise lace and tangerine silk faille. Green sequins. Pale mauve. Matisse blue. All that worked with voluminous ball gowns that took hundreds of hours to create at Valentino atelier in Rome. A season later, with a 5-star line-up of models including the great Lauren Hutton, each singular silhouette that came down the Valentino runway added more and more meaning to a show that celebrated the opulence of diversity through a “gathering of individuals“, as colours, shapes, headpieces, flowers and fringes came together in one stunning presentation of fashion design and its finest. Piccioli again made you feel ecstatic with his vision of couture. From the yellow tiered wool yarn fringing and Hmong/Miao tribe-inspired headpieces to cartoonish leopard prints and Matisse cut-outs in acid colours, this show was spectacular. The cut, the plumage details, those subtle Yves Saint Laurent references, the out-of-this-world craftsmanship, the magnificience… this collection is so deep in its beauty that it truly touches your soul. Unquestionably, Piccioli is a couturier of Garavani’s heights. And it’s a blessing for today’s fashion to experience his genius. On to 2020s!

Spring-summer 2019 haute couture

Autumn-winter 2019 haute couture

Spring-summer 2019 haute couture

Spring-summer 2018 haute couture

Autumn-winter 2018 haute couture.

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All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

Cool Folk. Chopova Lowena SS20

Chopova Lowena is currently one of the most fascinating, emerging labels from London. Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena‘s Central Saint Martins MA graduate collection began with them looking at Bulgaria’s mountain dwellers, particularly the women, and the way they dressed. There, they found all the contrasting elements they felt so intrigued with, like intricate handmade folk costumes worn with secondhand western sneakers and sunglasses. Chopova Lowena is beloved for its juxtapositions, subtly combining modernity and nostalgia, luxury and kitsch, craftsmanship and humour. The same spirit of new and old, rare and mainstream, is reflected in their spring-summer 2020 lookbook. Skin-tight layers of tartan-checks printed mesh are paired with their signature Bulgarian pleats in wool and nylon (they sell out super fast and you’ve surely seen them gracing street style slideshows this fashion month). Big, punk-ish belts double as mini-skirts underneath delicate harnesses made from metal hardware. The folky, peasant dresses and blouses with theatrical sleeves are another highlights. Chopova Lowena has an anthropological approach to design, observing traditional customs and revisiting them through a contemporary lens – often through collaborating with craftsmen in small Eastern European and English communities.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.