Whoever was tasked with tallying the hours it took to create Valentino’s mind-blowing creations had their work cut out for them.
Whoever was tasked with tallying the hours it took to create Valentino’s mind-blowing creations certainly had their work cut out for them for the Fall 2016 Couture season. A Shakespearean Renaissance-themed collection is not for the faint of heart, especially as design masterminds Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli purposefully resurrected antique design methods to accomplish their technically marvelous creations, which were topped with gorgeous jewelry pieces designed by Maison Alessandro Gaggio. To whit, a beautiful black gown bearing the phrase, “If you love me, I’m in your heart, if you hate me, I’m in your mind,” took 580 hours to stitch by hand.
Each look appeared to have walked straight out of a Renaissance-era painting.
For Fall 2016 Couture, Valentino developed two distinctly different aesthetics in order to capture the broad category of Renaissance fashion. Looks were either masculine, evoking swaggering Lords and pink-cheeked pageboys, or feminine, calling to mind regal queens and ladies in waiting – but no matter its back story, each look appeared to have walked straight out of a Renaissance-era painting.
The masculine category was defined by slim-cut breeches, riding boots, and body-conscious brocade suits, while the feminine category was replete with dresses that were either fairy-light and featherweight or dense and royally appointed. Prim ruffs grasped at the neck, topping most of the looks, acting as a reminder of the collection’s Shakespearean story. Although there was not a single look in the entire show that wasn’t eye popping and inventive, some of the more impressive ensembles featured the craftsmanship details that Valentino is best at – namely extraordinary embellishment found on dresses that were trimmed with thousands of microscopic seed pearls, chainmail paillettes, and glossy feathers. Show-stoppers included a series of dresses featuring antique patchwork applications, which took 1,200 working hours to complete, and hand-painted taffeta gowns depicting a menagerie of animals. The closing look brought the entire, dramatic presentation to a fiery finish and featured a voluminous Valentino-red taffeta riding cloak worn with a matching frock and ruff. Like we said, this was not for the faint of heart.