White, scalloped details kiss the necklines and pockets of the twee frocks that led the presentation. These looks are quickly followed by a broad variety of embroidered outerwear inspired by Renaissance tapestries. The garments grow more distinctive, like a crimson dress topped with an ermine collar and a ballerina-neckline gown sporting a flouncy plissé skirt. Curvy blocks of color come together to support maxi dresses and short frocks, and then the design duo experiments with a pack of eye-popping prints. Lace turns up on leather shifts and silky gowns before the show tapers to an astonishing close. The last 15 looks are all floor-length gowns. They are dramatic, elegant, Victorian, and, above all, gorgeous. From full-print to full-lace, Valentino proffers modest attire for our modern times. This is the aesthetic Chiuri and Piccioli are sticking with, and what we’ve come to expect from them. Even though Valentino meets our expectations, it simultaneously exceeds them every season.
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written by GRACE GORDON