By now, we know two things to expect from any Valentino collection: the detailing is going to be incredibly rich and intricate, and you’re going to find some studs here and there. The Valentino Resort 2016 bag collection is heavier on the former than the latter, but it’s still pure, unadulterated Valentino.
While Valentino is known for the exquisitely executed, conservatively feminine looks it sends down the runway twice a year, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli tend to get a bit funkier for pre-collections. Their latest resort range, shown on mannequins at the label’s New York offices earlier this week, was a particularly interesting experiment in high-low.
The stunning evening gowns and couture-level details were there, but so were sneakers (reminiscent of Chuck Taylors, but multi-colored and embellished), cowboy boots, flat sandals, leather jackets, and lots of mini skirts and dresses. There were also pieces embroidered with lions, flamingos, elephants and unicorns that called to mind the Lisa Frank illustrations that covered our elementary school notebooks and backpacks. It was a little kitsch, a little boho — the resort lookbook was even styled with headbands and feathered earrings that would not have looked out of place at Coachella.
The blending of the inspirations brought to light some rather lovely garments with simple silhouettes and enthusiastic decorations along with the most opulent of textures. We see garden motifs for the most part, but the geometric designs also have their place here and now, while Navajo inspired embroideries find themselves sprucing up and giving character to a tulle gown, finished off with a beaded fringe. A suede bralet with matching shorts was an eye catcher indeed as we considered the beauty of such a festival style look, bringing out one’s more youthful character, particularly through the flower decorations and a little micro studs. Delicate and feminine is what we see with the floral patterning placed on the crepe de chine shirt thrown over pajama style pants, all of which is engulfed in a splendidly luxurious intarsia mink fur coat. Plunging necklines, little frill sleeves, hems at all lengths, and comfortable shoes with sneaker lacing give the collection a modern twist. It makes sense to bring in features from the fall and winter collections anyhow, while means fringe is in, along with cape like blouses, sheer skirts that show off the legs underneath their pretty lace and a whole lot of floral, a trend that seems to be here to stay for a while.
Some might pause over pieces featuring what a spokesperson described as “Navajo” prints (see below) — which Chiuri and Pierpaolo pulled from Valentino’s archives. Interestingly, prints used elsewhere in the collection were done in collaboration with artist Christi Belcourt, a member of Canada’s Métis tribe — probably a better way to for a pair of Italian designers to incorporate tribal motifs into their luxury fashion collection.
There’s no question that the once-quiet brand has amped the volume as of late, one big example being the decision to make its fall 2015 runway show in Paris the setting for a headline-making PR stunt for the upcoming film “Zoolander 2.” While the designers may be having a little more fun, they still haven’t strayed too far from the Valentino codes, and their ability to continually interpret them in new ways is undeniably impressive. This collection had some stunning pieces, which you can peruse below.
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