Love Is in the Air at Valentino for Fall/Winter 2019

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There is tension in the air at Paris. During the Fall/Winter 2019 shows, “yellow vest” protesters took over for the streets for the 16th straight weekend, occasionally clashing with the police when outliers try to ram their cause past the agreed upon path. Over in America, Michael Cohen is spilling the beans to Congress. While Donald Trump holds a summit in Vietnam with Kim Jong-un, North Korean hackers launch a staged attack. Venezuela is in crisis. Brexit is a hot mess.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love – you know the rest.

At Valentino, love was the message, and it felt like a balm on an aching wound. At a time where fashion feels like nothing more than a cold, commercial product, Pierpaolo Piccioli consistently delivers sonorous collections, season after season. His shows are so packed with feeling that people cry at the end (true story).

What he did for Fall/Winter 2019 was acknowledge the emotional bedrock of his work, and then build on it. Brief snippets of the poetic works of young creatives wove their way through the collection. “There’s a forever beyond the sky, I think we should go there tonight” was embroidered onto a dress, while Robert Montgomery’s words were commemorated as the show’s backdrop: “The people you love become ghosts inside you, and like this you keep them alive.”

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

In continuation of Valentino’s collaboration with Jun Takahashi of Undercover – which started with menswear – Takahashi’s prints featuring two sculptures forever locked in embrace were imprinted on opera jackets, minidresses, and diaphanous frocks alike. Love eternal, immortalized as a fashion statement piece.

For Piccioli, love is passion, and it is evidenced by the amorous reaction his work for Valentino evokes.

This collection also saw a move away from the massive silhouettes that Valentino has been doing lately. The transition to slightly more fitted shapes was smooth, culminating in a parade of sheer, breezy gowns in an array of of Valentino reds, hot pinks, and taupes, with one of the best reflecting the Undercover collab with prints rendered as big appliqués that were embroidered to the surface of a nude, tulle gown.

Love is a tricky thing. Some scientists argue that it’s just a bunch of chemicals that dope our brains into thinking the ineffable thing we’re feeling is sustainable, an eternal feeling that only the person right in front of us can evoke. For others, love is friendship, respect, and enduring support. Meanwhile, popstars would argue that love is all you need, is a battlefield, or maybe makes the world go ‘round. But for Piccioli, love is passion, and it is evidenced by the amorous reaction his work for Valentino evokes.

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