Valentino S/S 2016

From Patagonia to Paris and Nimes

Once we were all the ambassadors of our people; now we are more truly the ambassadors of our own private tribes and ourselves. To thine own’s self be true wrote Shakespeare, which is what this latest men’s wear collection set out to do, and very much succeeded. Creating a new fashion vernacular, albeit with the many of the same concepts that have guided Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri by now in their seven-year reign at Valentino.

A denim mosaic Valentino
A denim mosaic

Our favorite piece: an almost industrial frock coat, made with patch pockets and elbows in denim of a high tech nylon. They revamped their signature camouflage sneakers with coolly embroidered dragon motifs and offered a great selection of the footwear of choice of the current season – espadrilles. And we never saw so much denim on their catwalk.

Adding Hawaiian lei in leather kept things suitably posh hippie; stitching Indian Nation imagery all over swing coats imparted cool knowingness. Moreover, the clothes while funky always reeked of couture, of true Roman artisanal quality.

Taking the 70's Hawaiian dropout to the runway Valentino
Taking the 70’s Hawaiian dropout to the runway

The duo did riff more than a little on the by now far too familiar: ornithological yet funky embroidery; bold camouflage and military hues. However, there was definitely a new spirit of adventure about Valentino, best expressed by the mood board in the backstage. Banished were the Arcadian imagery of Renaissance art gardens and Tudor dress and properties. Instead we found a sweaty Marlon Brando, Woodstock heroics and letters addressed to Mission Street, San Francisco.

Valentino  No chance of blowing your cover in this camouflage jacket
No chance of blowing your cover in this camouflage jacket

Though their true inspiration was a more literary figure, the great Bruce Chatwin. In one word, going for less classical art but cool literature made for a hit. Valentino will rule the denim world next year and these designers are the best in taking familiar clothes into new territory.