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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Back To Basics. Valentino SS23

Knowing Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s skills and abilities of making fashion that sparks deep emotions, the designer could do much better for spring-summer 2023 than covering his silhouettes in Valentino‘s “V” logos. At least, there’s no sight of last season’s PPPink, which from a good-looking idea turned to a curse of street style. But the opening look, a caped dress in the palest of beiges that was graphically emblazoned with the house’s logo, just didn’t feel good. The marque was over absolutely everything, including the gloved bodysuit worn under the dress. It was even painted across the model’s face. Not everything went through logomania in this line-up, but in general this was one of Piccioli’s most uninspired collections in a long while. Piccioli focused his look on mostly flowing, undulating dresses, short or long, some scissored away at the waist (inspired by the slashed canvases of artist Lucio Fontana) and soft suiting that was androgynous with or without the feathery trims, in myriad shades of ivory, beige and brown, his celebration of the beauty of every skin tone. During the course of the show, he started to introduce bright saturated colors as a contrast – electric blue, acid green, emerald green – which looked at their most dazzling when deployed for the dream-it-and-we-can-make-it technical marvel of his pleated sequin pieces, such as a shrug it on coat, or a sweeping floor-length backless evening dress. But in overall, the offering felt rather flat and repetitive, noting that there were over 90 looks.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

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