Yesterday in Paris, Pierpaolo Piccioli went solo for the first time as Creative Director of Valentino, after Maria Grazia Chiuri - his design partner for the past eight years - left in July to direct Dior. Their union was one fashion’s most successful duos, one which made Valentino a billion-dollar brand.
When this notorious “break-up” took place, industry insiders started questioning what the Valentino aesthetic was really composed of and how was Chiuri’s absence would affect this. And Piccioli's Spring 2017 collection mirrored these questions, with a collection that told the story of a fashion house evolving into something new – a metamorphosis, if you will.
The inspiration was mainly baroque, with references from David Hamilton’s 1970s portraits (think: pristine photographs featuring youthful London girls). Dresses showed prints that evoked the work of Hieronymus Bosch, an Early Netherlandish painter, specifically his triptych, “Garden of Earthly Delights.”
In an interview with The New York Times, the designer said that he had read Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” this summer, and there was clear confirmation of change in the clothes this season. We saw this in the shapes of fish becoming birds and through Valentino’s emblematic red colour evolving into shades of pink and fuchsia.
This highly romantic collection by Piccioli is certainly one of many to come. Next season we could be looking at a more mature vision of the director’s perspective. Although Chiuri's departure was sad to many of the brand's admirers, their respective collections this Paris Fashion Week give us the feeling that both of their careers will continue to flourish.