Valentino returns to the Eternal City in Piazza di Spagna, where it all began 50 years ago at the atelier in Piazza Mignanelli, to enthrall us with a fairytale infused with an ethereal lightness.
More than 800 guests gathered in the square of the historical atelier transformed by a setting conceived by Roman artist Pietro Ruffo and symbolizing a Roman forum, almost an allegory of that idea. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli revealed all the splendor of the Eternal City, offering guests yet another chance to discover it with a widespread exhibition of their creations at several of Rome’s most secret, evocative places, including the studio of Luigi Ontani, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, and the warehouse of Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera.
The Haute Couture collection drew inspiration from the sanctity of a late Imperial, Byzantine, and medieval Rome. It featured vibrant, regal colors such as black, gold, and red on soft, flowing dresses in chiffons, silks, and velvets. Other volumes unfolded in stripes and bands that almost seemed to echo the leather fringes found in Roman armor. Byzantine princesses and Renaissance ladies, whose hair was coiffed with the striking jewelry created by Alessandro Gaggio, took to the catwalks, decked out in togas and capes embroidered with chimeras and mythological animals, patterns and designs borrowed from the marble Cosmatesque floors found in the Romanesque churches of the Eternal City. Silhouettes were hieratic and vertical, having, as in all the collections designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, a sacred aura, somewhat reminiscent of a contemporary vestal virgin. The dominant presence of total black gave added strength to the idea of the pure, absolute elegance that the designers wished to convey.
Real luxury is understated; it has no need to amaze, but rather serves as a means of reassurance.
This concept of luxury was telegraphed on the catwalk through clean-cut, tailored lines. These were abundantly apparent in the incredible details of ribbons interwoven on plunging necklines, the striking toggles that embellished coats, and the use of exquisite gold embroidery. Sumptuous brocades and sophisticated trimmings were used to define this ethereal, regal profile. It conjured up the idea of a restless, nocturnal animal. The soundtrack of the film “Orlando,” based on the famous book by Virginia Woolf and possibly used to pay tribute to the divine Tilda Swinton who was also present at the show, completed the dream of a timeless, ageless woman, both strong and fragile, who traverses the eras while remaining true to herself, her soul, and her style.