Runway Report: Valentino F/W ’13 Haute Couture

– By Nausheen Shah – 


From its arched pebbled entrance to its majestic interiors, Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild reigns as one of Paris’ quintessential locations for designer fashion shows. Therefore, it was no surprise when Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli claimed the location not only for their Valentino Haute Couture défilé, but also for their mens show the week prior. But there was one minor difference.

Haute Couture often curates a level of mysticism not only enveloped in the clothing itself, but also in it’s surroundings. Chiuri and Piccioli managed to do exactly that, cross-pollinating prints from silk brocades gowns onto inanimate objects protruding from the chateau’s partitions and welcoming guests upon arrival. A “Cabinet of Curiosities” or a Museum of Natural History if you may, a tone was set for guests to conjure up fantastical images.

While Chiuri and Piccioli’s first look dazzled with intertwining lustrous branches surrounding silks prints including that of a rhinoceros, it was their artistry in day looks that led the collection. Cashmere, wool and herringbone patterns transformed into intricate calf length dresses, skirts and coats often donning laser cut-outs or hand-stitched floral appliqué. A natural color palate also played into the setting with tones of camel, ercu and cocoa, but of course a collection is never complete without a pop of Valentino Red.

But what really sets apart Chiuri and Piccioli from most of other collections presented during Haute Couture in Paris, is their innate ability to actualize garments not dominated by heavy sequined embellishments or a conglomerate of crystals. Instead they opted for more of a fresh direction developing prints from miniscule colored feathers or embroidered rouge coral branches crawling up facades of pebbled gowns.

The designers definitely accomplished what they set out to do by interpreting their search for “wonder as a thirst of knowledge, imagining and enchanting.” A spell was cast and Chiuri and Piccioli captivated the heart of every guest in attendance. Bravo.

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