Pierpaolo Piccioli’s work, at Valentino, reaches higher peaks at each new collection. The Italian Maison is doing an excellent communication – with the various campaigns developed during the lockdown (the last, in chronological order, we’re not really strangers) – and, in the meantime, it is reworking its stylistic codes in a super contemporary way. Decidedly futuristic is the Spring 2021 Couture’s side project, curated by Robert Del Naja (founder of Massive Attack) and Piccioli himself. “Making of the Haute Couture” has been entirely produced by Artificial Intelligence.
For this Couture collection, Piccioli started from the cornerstones of his aesthetic and then ventured into new territories: Couture, after all, is an exploration of limits. The looks arise from the stratification of the three essential elements of him vocabulary: the colour palette, the impeccable cuts, and the contrast of the materials. They create a perfect dialogue, making the ensemble extremely complex and relaxed at the same time. As for the silhouettes, Piccioli continues his study on elongated, long-limbed shapes, which began last Fall 2020 with the Couture presented at the Cinecittà studios in Rome. Together with the clothes, the shoes help the figures to grow upwards: boots and pumps are simply exaggerated, but they fit with the very elegant masculine-cut trousers, soft cloth and camel.
Piccioli seems essentially attracted from the ether, from the wonderful skies that his demigod models can reach: it is a divine aesthetic, in the true sense of the word. Yet, he always emphasizes how all his work (and couture in particular) is the result of the manual skill and craftsmanship of his model-makers, tailors and designers: the hood in white checked leather that Maria Carla Boscono wears at the opening of the show was made by expert eyes and hands. Fashion is an intrinsically human expression.
From a stylistic point of view, the collection is focused on daywear, much more than usual, and features a limited number of “red carpet” dresses. It may be that the opportunities are limited, but it is also likely that this is Piccioli’s response to a changing world that favours agility over pomp. To offer something truly gorgeous was the total-glitter make-up that covering the models’ faces. Another undisputed feature of the future of fashion is the removal of gender barriers: implementing menswear in couture is a rather explicit move in this sense; having the same coat worn twice, the first time by a woman and the second by a man, leaves no doubts. We still have a long way to go for a genderless wardrobe, but this is definitely a start. For now, more Valentino for everyone!
Cover image courtesy: Valentino