Scrolling through the images Valentino provided for pre-fall 2023, the impression was that of a wildly over-saturated wardrobe where luxe was given a twist of cool, in keeping with Pierpaolo Piccioli’s current direction. “The idea of a wardrobe as a vocabulary of various and diverse semantic layers has always fascinated me. Every one of us is a collector, creating a vision through selection and personal taste”, the designer summed it up. The collection has it all. At some points, even too much. Valentino’s PPPink returns, just like the monogram logo. The V-neck sweater tucked in a brocade full-circle skirt look felt sciura in a Prada way; a sweatshirt worn over an evening dress gave Jenna Lyons; some of the more bare-it-all looks made me surprisingly think of Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s early 2000s style. The nonchalant, unfiltered variety of separates is styled in the “counterintuitive way” Piccioli embraces – but this method tends to worryingly look like a collection of inspirations, rather than an actual Valentino look. However when you consider the pieces separately, they do have a polished ease about them, with no conceptual detours. Broad-shouldered masculine pantsuits introduced the monochrome palette that punctuated the evening offer. Dense pops of bright green and Valentino red added vitality to sleek long dresses with side bow-knotted cut-outs, as well as to fluid jumpsuits with wide palazzo pants. Glamorous, they exuded the charisma of haute dolce vita ingrained in the house’s codes. Quiet luxury? Never heard of her.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram! By the way, did you know that I’ve started a newsletter called Ed’s Dispatch? Click here to subscribe!
Pierpaolo Piccioli is loosening it up lately. Less of sublime, heavenly elevations, more of party vibe. His Valentino autumn-winter 2023 collection is for party people. Maybe not ravers (with thick pockets), but definitely fans of chic soirées, ambient cocktails and events with great music. The concept for the latest collection came up quite spontaneously: when Piccioli came home from work at the Valentino office in Rome recently, he was astonished to see that his 15-year-old daughter had raided his wardrobe for a night out with her friends. “She’d taken one of my black suits, white shirt, and black tie and was on her way out the front door. It was amazing to me, because she’d never seen me wearing a suit to the office. I keep some I wear with a bow tie to things like the Met Ball and other events, but never on a daily basis.” He realized his kid had no idea about ascribing socially-conditioned ideas to the conventions of formal dressing. “It was just, she liked it, and it was a new thing to her. In the end, I think that’s the way to approach fashion, as a personal choice of freedom.” And he was off, with ideas aplenty, inspired to design his ‘Black Tie’ collection. The neo-punk tribe of people he sent stomping around the rooms of the Hotel Salomon Rothschild had face-jewelry, tattoos, and heavy boots, the better to demonstrate the individuality he wanted to spotlight amongst his reinterpretations and deconstructions of traditional formal attire. Of course, it was Yves Saint Laurent who first broke the boundaries between women’s and menswear with his evening ‘Smoking’ suits in the 1960s. At the time, Valentino Garavani was focusing much more on creating a language of femininity which attracted conventional aristocrats, Hollywood actresses, and socialites. “I always think about what Valentino was about – it was about the idea of lifestyle, the perfect life, success,” Piccioli said. “I think, now what I’m doing is more switched to the idea of the lifestyle of community, our community, communities that are about the sort of gang of kids who are saying, look, we can wear the same sort of clothes, but giving them their personality with that.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!