If you’ve ever seen the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor you are aware of the painstaking detail the designer applied to his collections until the day of his retirement. Valentino Garavani would oversee every aspect of the design process in person. He would fuss and fret until the last gown swept the catwalk. For Valentino, beauty is not a passing fad, it is everything.
Therefore, it was probably not easy to turn over the reigns and his name to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. In four years, they have proven their worth, transforming Valentino into one of the most sought-after brands in the world, and weaving couture quality into collections that left audiences gob-smacked. For Fall/Winter 2014, Valentino sat front row and personally witnessed the renaissance of Italian pop art in the hands of his two brilliant successors. By the end of the show, tears of joy trickled down his face.
Recent seasons have seen the duo exploring elongated lengths, slim silhouettes, and a touch of Victorian modesty. However, this season they are fully engaged with a more recent era: that of the 60s. Vivid polka dot prints and sporty stripes supported Italian pop art influence, which came by way of Carla Accardi, Giosetta Fioroni, and Carol Rama. Chiuri and Piccioli were inspired by the fearlessness of the artist’s approach, especially since they were creating in a time where it was unusual for artists to be female. Gauzy dresses and bird-printed capes also helped channel the 60s vibe of the presentation. Wallpaper brocades have been a longtime favorite of the brand, but they felt more modern this time around, especially when done in metallic babydoll dresses. From plain to printed, the diaphanous gowns that closed their collection were all stunning, but it was the final look which featured a heart appliqué over the breast that garnered the biggest reaction.
Valentino wore its heart out in the open this season, and this emotionally charged presentation will be one that’s remembered for years to come.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway