The Valentino collection that will be forever known as the 'Zoolander Show' happened today in Paris. As Derek Zoolander once said: ‘What say we settle this on the runway, Han-Solo?’ Hansel: ‘Are you challenging me to a walk-off, Boo-Lander?’
In the most unforeseen runway casting of the season – make that the decade – Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson reprised their alter-egos Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald for the filming of the sequel #Zoolander2, making real runway history with a steel-off at the least predictable of grandest-of-grand Maisons, Valentino.
There had been no pre-news release, no warning at all from the Valentino press office. So when the finale of models had disappeared and the audience expected to see the designers at the foot of the runway, to say the room went completely and uncharacteristically beserk would be something of an understatement.
But did they upstage the clothes? Well, yes. But if ever there was a Valentino show to Blue Steel it, then this was it. The most contemporary collection that co-creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have shown for years, took inspiration from two muses: not Ben and Hans, but Emilie Louise Flöge and Celia Birtwell. The first was Gustav Klimt’s companion and subject of his paintings. The second, wife of Ossie Clark, immortalised by David Hockney’s painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.
The collection was full of grace, from the graphic black and white daywear that opened the show, monastic in its simplicity, to the opulent atelier-crafted gowns for which the pair have become best known – as seen on every red carpet going. But there was an overarching attitude of loosening up and modernising – big slouchy sweaters with embroidered skirts, strikingly simple suits and loose romantic dresses that recalled Ossie Clark’s era. It all made for a more down-to-earth collection.
Until Derek and Hansel appeared, that is. Making Valentino, as Zoolander might say: ‘So hot right now’.
Images above all Imaxtree