Valentino is a label that is so wonderful, so serious, and so thoughtful that it came as something of a shock to see two individuals that represent the opposite of seriousness take the stage during the finale. We’re speaking, of course, of Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson), who shocked Valentino attendees when they took to the runway. It was definitely a crowd-pleasing moment and one met with reverberating applause. In the context of a Valentino presentation, Zoolander’s presence was also a curiosity. But fashion and film have long been partners, and it was something of a joy to see Valentino in a less pretentious context (especially one that tends to poke fun at fashion’s self-involvement).
In fact, the whole mood at Valentino seemed to be more relaxed overall, with surprising elements popping up that had us checking the show notes to make sure we were in the right place. A knit sweater embroidered with a Chinese dragon? It felt more Kenzo than Valentino, but we hold nothing against designers trying new things when the results are this good. There were dozens of ideas present in the collection that didn’t exactly blend into a cohesive whole, but cobbled together in “like” groups they added up to a diverse and covetable line-up. First, there was monochrome — lots of it — which came in either amazing printed or striped dresses, black-and-white separates with cropped lengths and high necklines, breezy dresses trimmed with contrast piping, velvety frocks that spelled nighttime romance, and a variety of glossy-leather outerwear. Next up were raw-looking fox fur coats, which lent a wildness to the proceedings, especially when shown in the thick of desaturated, folksy, lace dresses. Frilled ruffles shot from the surface of gauzy mini dresses, which came with either graphically appointed or tiered ruffle bodices, while geometry laid heavy on the surface of sheer, diaphanous gowns.