In the Valentino Show in the City of Love, Everyone Scores a Rose

Romantic poetics set the tone for the Valentino FW19 show.

Valentino ready to wear fall ‘19 was inundated with the millennial concept of self-affirmation- there is love in everything, never unrequited, but just requires some searching. Creative director, Pierpaolo Picioli, solidified the abstract concept with curated poetry embroidered onto the garments. Though haute couture fashion week has passed, Picioli took it upon himself to reimagine the Handcrafted ‘high fashion’ with handwritten poetics that he describes as being “similar to couture.” something that can belong to both the past and to this time. And though the idea of one manifesting love by finding the beauty by actively seeking it out contrasts with the pre era where love at first sight was probably how your parents met, Picioli begs to differ: “poetry belongs to both the past and to this time,” he said. According to the Roman-educated designer, holding literature and design degrees, one “can find poetry through dress.” And just like libraries have made way for e-readers, Valentino managed to make the case for an even more mobile read.

Still, Valentino On Love, a book of carefully selected poetry, lay on the seats of show attendees. Words aside, graphic prints created by Undercover’s Jun Takahashi covered the garments in moving art. There were symbolic red roses and human neo-classical Roman scluptures in embrace. Effervescent silks and crepe dresses accompanied comfortable hoodies and resplendent feather locks on floor length coats. Leather and black as well as typical Scandinavian-knits like intarsia rounded out the thematic but seasonal collection. The Roman maison punctuated its Paris showing with its cultural legacy: mythical love, architectural ruins that are maintained in time capsule splendor and Euro-centric sensibility that doesn’t isolate comfort – referring to weather-cognizance as opposed to sweats – from fashionable enterprise.

Pat McGrath’s beauty included vibrant spring-like pops of color only around the eyes. Flashes of violet, hibiscus pink, and verdant green blurred across eyelids. Sharply darkened lashes brushed with an ordinate amount of mascara completed the look. The rest of the face was neutral, perhaps some highlighter, and pared down in contrast to the bespoke quality of structural silhouettes and street-wear vibes of the garments that were not confined to any color scheme, instead epitomizing ready to wear: a personal wardrobe based on preferences.

When not sporting bucket hats that invoke equal parts mystery, equestrian sport, fishing, the models sported natural hairstyles that weren’t effortless but not carefully worked either. If your hair was already cropped short, it was simply combed and had product. If long, a “veil” or wispy tendrils that framed the face were released from otherwise tightly wound hair in back-of-head buns.

A trifecta of ruched-Victorian inspired collared long-sleeve transparent gowns, nipped at the waist walked the ramp in old world romance. The models revealed their breasts on full display, revealing only a mini skirt for modesty. The secrecy of love continued to reveal itself in stitched poetics on hems and inner lining of sleeves so that peeling back the layers of autumnal cold indoors insulated warmth in more ways than one. Additionally, common motifs associated with cooler temperatures, like an earlier sunset and dusky nightfall, suggested an enlightened human connection: “There’s a forever beyond the sky. I think we should go there tonight.” Another example was: “You thought I was too dark until I stretched you into a galaxy.”

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