Runway Report: Valentino SS17 Couture

In his first collection as the sole creative director of Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli delivered an exquisite array of ethereal looks, each an individual study in dreams, mythology, vulnerability and restraint.  Opening the show with a minute-long moment of silence in a tender tribute to Franca Sozzani, Piccioli set the stage for intimacy as a core value of this Haute Couture collection, one that leads to the prized end goal of truth or authenticity (according to the abstract show notes):

“Haute Couture lives of imagination as well, distinguishing itself from attentions and rituals that pace themselves out of time. The more its value is intimate, secret and personal, the more it is real.”

These lofty words, once put into the tangible format of fashion, began to take shape as Piccioli’s designs began to emerge. Long, pleated crêpe column gowns, paired with flat sandals and flowing hair, recalled Greek goddesses stripped clean of any superfluous ornamentation.  Veils of whisper-weight tulle caressed a number of looks, referencing not only mythology, but also the delicate paper shrouds used in the couture workroom to protect the garments at night.  Worn as either a swirling, full-length layer on top of gowns, or in direct contact with the skin, beneath a jacket or coat, these touches of tulle were particularly effective in conveying the gentle, dream-like quality of Piccioli’s inspiration.

Additionally, the unrivaled craftsmanship of the Valentino atelier in Rome should be celebrated, as the work on display at this show was astounding (think impeccable hand embroidery, a dress made entirely of tiny feathers, or flawless applications of matte sequins and geometric crystals). This commitment to true Haute Couture traditions was perhaps best exemplified in the magnificently embellished full-length gowns finished with intricate flowers, silvery beads or metallic lace.

When all of this restrained beauty is rendered in soft, creamy pastel shades (with the occasional brilliant Valentino red as an acceptable exception), the result is unequivocally gorgeous and will undoubtedly inspire its admirers to dream. Certainly inspired are the innumerable fashion journalists who have unanimously declared this collection as the finest of the season.

About the Author

A fashion stylist, event designer, and style writer, Lucas Somoza has a keen eye for all things beautiful. Based in Paris, Lucas regularly collaborates with Olivia throughout Paris Fashion Week, producing editorials and contributing reviews of designer collections. You can follow Lucas on Instagram at @LucasSomoza.