If Marcello Mastroianni had gone to Woodstock, or Gianni Agnelli played rhythm guitar for The Rolling Stones, the Valentino collection presented in Paris Wednesday evening would have been the clothes they would have wanted to wear.
In a striking display of cool, modernist fashion, the Valentino design duet of Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri managed to mingle the subtle Flower Power of the Sixties with the individuality of Italian dandies in a bravura display. Not that anything literally looked liked the Sixties, or that close to Mastroianni, though portraits of the Italian legend did populate the famed Valentino mood board backstage.
And there was a sense of contemporary Dolce Vita of the collection, which featured utterly charming pajama outfits in russets, burgundies and Pacific blue, though all gloriously printed with everything from tulips and dandelions to shells and Flamenco dancers.
“We wanted a sensitive, modern man, and I think we got one” smiled Piccioli as he and his design partner posed with Eros Ramazotti.
Like last season, the show opened with five men’s couture looks, sculptural super fine wool blousons and pale corn trench coats in rough silk. It was a reminder that alone among couturiers, Chiuri and Piccioli have managed to inject their own signature style from women’s – haute classical silhouettes, exuberant embroidery and refined practicality – into their men’s shows. That was expressed in the mix of the sublime – an indigo second skin leather trench that any man would dream to wear – and the surreal, like a series of suits and jerkins where embroidered butterflies swarmed about the torso.
Blessed with a super soundtrack by Michelle Gaubert, starring a splendid remix of Italian Goth rocker Patty Pravo’s magnificent of Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side, this was a triumphant show.