Valentino Blossoms at Spring 2019 Couture Show

Valentino Blossoms at Spring 2019 Couture Show

Floral motifs dominate the 65 bold-yet-ethereal looks.

Floral motifs dominate the 65 bold-yet-ethereal looks.

Text: Hannah Hightman

The delicate nature of Valentino’s couture gowns prove the genuine passion designer Pierpaolo Piccioli has for them. Opening with a rosy silk number that enshrined the model’s head with a dreamlike, textured hood mimicking the folds of a rose, the precedent was set for an elaborate and ephemerally lavish collection. The subsequent looks were more conventional, but not less intricate. Understandably, the show left many celebrities in the front row awestruck, even moving Celine Dion to tears.

Later looks relied on less surreal but still playful elements. The show featured a compelling color block component, one of the more daring aspects of the collection: dazzling turquoise pants paired with a saffron cape, persimmon colored trousers accompanied by griseous outerwear, a powder blue blouse with a silken seashell pink skirt.

But the predominant theme was an unorthodox approach to florals, heightened by the skills of Pat McGrath whose plantlike eye makeup was integral to the show. The collection served as an exploration of the various uses of florals in fashion. Nearly all of the gowns employed a floral print of some sort, though these prints varied greatly, from cascading florets that brought to mind 70s prairie dresses to dimensional scarlet and pink blooms reminiscent of Japanese cherry blossoms. But, with an abundance of ruffles and billowing dresses, some looks even mirrored the literal form of flowers, as well as their vivid hues. Voluminous sleeves and tiered dresses evoked Georgia O’Keefe-esque imagery-- a celebration of softness and femininity punctuated by staccato notes of almost provocative vibrancy.

The closing was undoubtedly the strongest moment in the show, with the iconic Naomi Campbell making her return to the Valentino runway in a semi-sheer, black, ruffled gown. Though the collection was perhaps not particularly inventive, it was dramatic and unexpected. The emotional response it elicited from the audience is a testament to the care with which the couture collection was made.

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