Nobody does what Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are doing. That is to spin ‘pretty’ into relevant, modern clothes.
And how we sighed at the loveliness of it all. But where that sigh is usually full of unrequited longing – the thinking being that if only we had the sort of life and occasions to wear such precious clothes – this season there were more real-life clothes to anchor the collection.
They surprised us with an opening run of pitch black. Darkness now being the overwhelming theme of the season, this was on point. And, equally, without going off Valentino radar, cast in their inimitable style.
You could see how the black leather coats and dresses, precise and reduced down to their architectural purity, could work for everyday – not quite going off to work on the tube, but without a driver, at least. Ditto, a simple black suit with narrow trousers or pea coat with military frogging on the chest and a white collar to frame the face or the sweeping black cape, even.
The house codes were ever present too, of course. The dramatic Valentino red, issued here in a neat day dress or flowing jumpsuit; the exquisite patchworked embroideries, crisp yet opulent; the powder pink chiffon dress, as light as air; the smocked-lace-embroidered cream blouse and skirt - this last, a perfect addition to any young princesses’ wardrobe.
Oh and the shoes! If anything called out to the fashion audience as a save-up-and-buy item, it was the shoes. The low square heels with a dainty ankle strap rendered in black patent and the occasional pair in glittering gold, had many of us seeing these as the perfect way to buy into the brand without breaking the bank, too much.
It was, as ever, a beautiful breath of fresh air.