In fashion, change can be a double-edged sword. Sticking to the same formula risks stagnation, while venturing into new territory can alienate a brand’s loyal following. This paradox is exactly why Alessandro Michele’s first collection for Valentino is receiving some backlash. 

Courtesy of Valentino

On June 17, Michele surprise-dropped his first collection for Valentino on the final day of the SS25 menswear shows in Milan; the same day Sabato De Sarno debuted his own SS25 collection for Gucci. As many of you know, Alessandro Michele was the creative director of Gucci from 2015 to 2022, reviving Gucci’s popularity with his bold and maximalist designs. Michele joined Valentino on April 2, 2024, which makes for a quick, three-month turnaround on Valentino’s Resort 2025 collection, “Avant les Débuts.” 

Courtesy of Valentino

Critics on social media have dubbed Michele’s collection “Vucci,” suggesting a mere copy-and-paste job from his previous role at Gucci. However, this is a surface-level critique. While, yes, this collection is steeped in Michele’s signatures—full of layering, bold patterns and prints, gender fluidity, vintage hallmarks and maximalist accessories—Michele isn’t simply designing for Valentino; he’s engaging in a conversation with the house’s past collections, pushing it forward—an evolution in and of itself.

The color palette leans cooler, with a focus on light tones. He subtly references Valentino’s ’70s hippie chic and feminine refinement, while letting loose with his signature ruffles.

Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino

Looking at ‘80s Valentino, the cheetah print is an obvious nod. One cream polka dotted dress seems to be a reinterpretation of the red polka dotted dress of the Valentino Alta Moda Spring/Summer 1988. The opulence of accessorization of the ‘80s Valentino shines through colored tights, as well as all a variety of headwear.

Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino

Even recent collections are referenced: the sheer shirts echo The Unboxing Valentino SS23 collection, and the recurring beading is a Valentino signature. The collection features bold prints, including one reminiscent of an arabesque design, which echoes a similar motif seen in Valentino’s SS2015 collection. The light, cool tones of the color scheme align with Valentino’s, although there is notable absence of black.

Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino

The 171-look collection (yes, you read that correctly) features playful details like prim princess coats, tasseled bags, and wide-leg trousers. Even the “minimalist” bow and flower prints—compared to the overall maximalist aesthetic—offer a delightful twist.

Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino

On the topic of bows, Valentino bedazzled bows are featured among the magnitude of accessories. Quite literally from head to toe, Michele adds accessories wherever he can fit. Think colored lace tights, flower-embroidered socks, pearls, dangly earrings, and turbans—this collection is a celebration of accessorizing.

Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino
Courtesy of Valentino

The gender-fluid whimsical style that Michele is known for translates across the Valentino collection with straight shaped menswear and womenswear, decadent accessories, and a multitude of styling options.

Courtesy of Valentino

Evolution isn’t always easy, and there will never be another Valentino Garavani. However, Michele’s vision for the brand captures the same romantic spirit while introducing a new chapter.

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