Valentino Fall 2020 Haute Couture: “OF GRACE AND GLORY”

A pure fashion fantasy with humanism at its core.

The fall 2020 couture season has been underway for over two weeks; now, here comes one of the most highly-anticipated couture collections of the year — Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino Fall 2020 Haute Couture, wrapping up the digital showcase with cream of the crop of artistry and craftsmanship in fashion. As with each and every one of his couture collections designed for the iconic French fashion house, Piccioli has once again proved to us that he always keeps his fingers right on the pulse of the current state of fashion and its relationship with the world around.

A ‘performance’ instead of a ‘show’ or ‘presentation’; modest shades of paper-white and ivory instead of a familiar flamboyant mix of colors, fabrics and textures so pertinent to haute couture. Titled “OF GRACE AND LIGHT,” the project was created in conversation with another maestro in the world of fashion and artistry Nick Knight. The grand digital unveiling started with abstract draped fabrics that rippled and flowed through the air, all illuminated by various shades of shadowy, metallic light. British singer/songwriter FKA twigs soundtracked the virtual performance, making for a combination of music, fashion and film that is capable of triggering goosebumps to surface on the viewers’ skin, as they inevitably did on mine. And I’m sure I was not the only one to experience such a visceral reaction.

Over the course of his career in fashion design, Pierpaolo Piccioli has earned a reputation for putting the emphasis and spotlight on women and their uniquely beautiful identities and cultures rather than just clothing worn by them. Alongside that, the theme of Valentino’s newest couture collection had humanism at its core: “the seed of rebirth,” highlighting how the human values are being invariably put at the center by the moments of reset or restart. Needless to say, Piccioli has once against proved his stature as “the couture designer who matters most in 2019” — and, may I say, staying in this position for year 2020. 

The collection featured only 15 silhouettes (in contrast to 70-something looks normally presented in Valentino’s couture shows), which makes sense — where could one possibly wear these luxuriously grand garments in this day and age anyway? Focusing on the human and letting it dialogue with the digital to create a new dream, at once material and immaterial: a dream of pure fashion that blooms and flourishes in light orchestrated by Nick Knight. To further enhance the show’s glory and grandeur, the already-tall models were put on stilts. In the best traditions of the house of Valentino, the casting arguably was as diverse as it gets.  

Though the collection is a lot more pared-down by the standards of Valentino’s usual haute couture, Piccioli couldn’t go without feathers, flowers and frills — after all, haute couture has to preserve its hauteur even in the most unprecedented of times. As a result, models looked like elegant, sophisticated yet minimal flower fairies — dressed in the tulle, volumes and layered ruffles of the top-notch haute couture fashion.

Click through the gallery below to see exclusive BTS images from the making of Valentino Fall 2020 Haute Couture “OF GRACE AND LIGHT”:

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