PFW: Breaking Floor On Hallowed Soil For Valentino Spring/Summer season 2024
There were two shows going on at Valentino’s Paris Fashion Week presentation: the unveiling of the Spring/Summer 2024 collection and the complementing dance performance featuring FKA Twigs. For his latest venture, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli took us back to where it all began for the house’s founder—École des Beaux-Arts, the prestigious Parisian art school that once counted Valentino Garavani as a diligent pupil. Back then, Garavani moved to be at the school. Today, it moved for him.
Against a backdrop of Mannerist statues and the storied walls of the 200-year-old institution, where Garavani, 91, became the Valentino, Piccioli presented a “celebration of femininity and creativity.” But unlike the estate of his Haute Couture 2023/2024 show, this season’s runway had a dual focus. Performing her dance act, ‘Unearth Her’, British singer FKA Twigs led a moving ensemble of contemporary dancers alongside the show, where boxes filled with sand and debris transformed into platforms for the troupe.
Inspired partly by the strength that women conjure in the face of adversity—a bit of a theme this season, with Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri channelling a similar muse in empowered females—Piccioli’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection was filled with looks to embolden in the face of increased attacks on women in Italy. Taking delicate motifs like flowers, a symbol so often thrust onto women as a reflection of delicacy, and recreating these totems into solid and powerful iterations, the designer challenged notions often employed by fashion to give women power (i.e., just throwing some menswear at them).
Denim, a woman’s best friend, returned in equally fabulous ways to his Haute Couture show earlier this year. The Barbie pink that Piccioli made viral only popped up briefly, but the vivid neutrals and red highlighted some striking textures and unique craftsmanship. On the dressier side, mini hemlines, cut-outs and intricate sparkles may have bitten the thumb at the antiquated questions about what women choose to wear on a night out, and what it means for them.
“It’s important for women to be free to express themselves through their body and not to be judged,” he said during a preview at Valentino’s Place Vendôme headquarters. “There’s a perception about the idea of nudity or the exposure of the body. I like the idea of Eden before the original sin. In a way, we add the cliché of sexiness, of seduction, around the body. I think there must be freedom for women to choose, always,” he explained.
This collection may be designed by a man, but with this, Piccioli uses his vast platform—both in the literal attention his work generates and the ripple effect fashion can have on a culture—to take a conversation that has been static for too long, and push it forward.
Source: Prestige Online