Valentino Quenches Our Thirst For Couture
Autumn/Winter Haute Couture 2021/2022
Autumn/Winter Haute Couture 2021/2022
Text: Michelle Diaz
It’s bold, it’s colorful, it’s Valentino honey, and it did not disappoint.
Creative Director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, served a powerful haute couture show that brought us back to life after the emotionally depleting year that was 2020. The runway show was presented both in-person and live-streamed; only a small, fortunate few had the opportunity of seeing the collection in person in Venice.
“One of the most challenging aspects of my work during these unprecedented times was the reprogramming of some of my recurrent thoughts, which of course included the concept and the place for my couture shows,” Piccioli said before presenting the couture show. “The current ‘travel with your fantasy’ mode we are in pushed me to dream harder and bigger.”
Piccioli took inspiration from his favorite city, Venice, and named the collection Des Ateliers. It was presented at the Gaggiandre at the Arsenale in Venice, one of the city's largest production centers. Just like many other designers, Piccioli felt stimulated by all the energy of the world reopening and dedicated his collection to Venice’s world of art. Since creating clothing is an art form in itself, it is only right that he made each article of clothing in the collection look like a piece of artwork.
“Fashion is not art,” believes Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli. “Fashion always has a practical scope, while art is an end in itself.”
To Piccioli, a painting is to contemporary art to what haute couture is to fashion. Merging both worlds, Piccioli gathered a group of contemporary painters who come from different backgrounds, aesthetics, and ages into the Atelier to create designs that give three-dimensionality to a two-dimensional structure. 22 out of the 82 designs on the runway were brought to life by the artists.
“Fashion and art are creative practices that respond to different purposes — one linked to the body and movement, the other completely free from constraints of sorts — which nevertheless find a conjunction in the atelier: the place of making, of thinking with the hands, of translating a desire, an idea, a sensation into a tangible object,” Piccioli explained.
The artists, Joel S. Allen, Anastasia Bay, Benni Bosetto, Katrin Bremermann, Guglielmo Castelli, Maurizio Cilli, Danilo Correale, Luca Coser, Jamie Nares, Francis Offman, Andrea Respino, Wu Rui, Sofia Silva, Alessandro Teoldi, Patricia Treib, and Malte Zenses (and with inspiration from Kerstin Bratsch), turned Piccioli’s vision into tangible works of art that can be worn.
This striking collection presented gender-fluid skirts over pants and men wearing blouses. It also exhibited that Piccioli is not afraid of experimentation; zippers running the length of the legs or on the ankles, button-down shirts and capes decked out in sequins. The full-length arm gloves gave all the drama, and they came in various colors to match the clothing.
“When I start a collection, I think of the final image,” he said, admitting it was “a challenge to insert an artistic dialogue in the show.”
Throughout the seasons, Piccioli has successfully turned Valentino into a brand that younger audiences can adore. Valentino is no longer “a brand that my mom likes” but, “only hot girls wear Valentino”. This is a collection full of lively colors, bold sculptures, and a full-length neon green ballgown made with a halter top to give it a reimagined fresh twist. But everyone’s favorite piece will be the accessory that made appearances throughout the collection; an oversized, multi-layered feather hat that moves with every step you take.
Piccioli put the Haute in Haute Couture with this collection. The Italian designer gave us couture, but still made looks that are functional and ready-to-wear. Utilizing Valentino’s signature red and archival fabrics, a sleeveless gown was embellished with an allover pattern of hands “that seek intimacy at a time when you can’t really touch anything,” said Piccioli, referencing a work by artist Alessandro Teoldi. Piccioli experimented with vivid pops of azure, red, mint, emerald green, fuchsia, mustard, and purple, which contrasted perfectly with guests' required white dress code.
Models walked out in grandiose ballgowns to close the show as Cosima sang “all the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” It is undeniable that Piccioli and his team of artists poured sweet love into creating this collection.
To see the full collection, watch below: