2009 July 9
(PARIS) The last two years at Valentino have been so turbulent that the corporate machinations have been talked-about while the clothing has been largely ignored. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli's couture collection aimed to quiet the Faccinetti loyalists and other assorted naysayers while bringing aesthetics back into the conversation. Judging from the chatter that began as guests exited the Couvent des Cordeliers and continued the next morning in waiting areas at Roissy, the duo succeeded. At Valentino, the couture ateliers are alive and well, and instead of a somber re-rendering of Garavani's garb, the new regime dared to offer their own perspective and propel the house into the future. Gone (mostly) were the gowns--the ones that clients depended on to dazzle and flatter with plenty of ease--and instead, a black and nude parade of party frocks and complex but jumbo-sized confections of tucked tulle, netting and beads. In several dresses, delicate trompe l'oeil black lace sitting simply over a shoulder blade or collarbone suggested sweetness and youth. There is a lot of value in that attitude, especially as Valentino seeks to return to the red-carpet dominance it once enjoyed. Carlos Souza has plenty to work with, although these gowns will require starlets who like to show leg and don't mind a bit of extra volume. But Piccioli and Chirui can rest assured--when it comes to this collection, tounges are most certainly wagging.
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