Valentino’s Enchanted Garden
‘In this enchanted garden,’ said the show notes, ‘the diaphanous albedo of a dream fades away, leaving behind a strong sense of wonder and breathtaking beauty.’
Who knows what an ‘albedo’ is? Who cares? Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are masters of their craft and when it comes to the Valentino haute couture collection, they pour every fibre of their artistic, sensitive, disciplined beings into creating clothes that are simply magnificent.
Lightness defined everything. From the crisp cream tailored daywear, piped with the pattern of what looked like the gates to this imaginary garden, to the finale ballgowns that resembled billowing clouds. One little cream wool day dress was scattered with microscopically beaded seed flowers; each bud a different variety and colour, no larger than a child’s fingernail. Another exquisite dress, on Cara Delevingne, was made entirely from crocheted flowers – myrtle, lavender and willow – apparently inspired by a piece of original Venetian lace from the 19th Century. ‘Le jardin d’Hesperides’ dress - a long silk tulle robe the colour of a storm cloud took the Valentino atelier no less than 2,500 hours to stitch with silver and gold thread.
If you want to see an awe-inspiring display of the art of couture then you have it all here. Not only are these designers and their atelier in Rome upholding this rare and sacred craft, but also projecting an image of a woman that is as pure as she is perfect. Somehow this virginal ideal has no problem translating onto its audience – look around the room at any Valentino show and you will see them, the Valentino ladies, in their very rich but utterly respectful and precise clothes.
No wonder they keep coming back for more.