NEW YORK — There was no red in sight, just a hint of cerise.
In town to present her first Valentino effort for pre-fall, Alessandra Facchinetti showed a few new shades for the iconic fashion house, while balancing structure and lightness.
Facchinetti experimented with proportion, teaming a structured body with bell-like ruched sleeves, chiffon pleated to an origami effect and tasseled bow belts. The overall effect had a lightness and ease to it without forsaking the namesake's sophistication and elegance.
The pre-fall collection was a teaser of the designer's vision for Valentino. Since being named creative director of the women's collections in September, Facchinetti has spent her days studying the designer's extensive archive, turning garments inside-out to learn about their impeccable construction. Facchinetti oversees the couture and ready-to-wear collections, as well as the RED and Roma secondary lines. Valentino himself will be retiring after the haute couture shows in Paris next month.
"What I am doing is trying to establish my aesthetic into a Valentino frame," said Facchinetti. "This is a house where couture was the main aspect. I want to explore the culture of couture.
"I want to keep the culture of the house in terms of gowns, but lighten it up," she added.
Facchinetti said she made a conscious effort to create an expansive assortment for pre-fall.
"For me, it was very important to show from the first collection that the direction is complete, that there isn't just evening, but that we are also approaching day," she said.
"I am working on coats, shirts and jackets in a basic way and then adding something that was a part of my compromise with the past and the present," she added. "We are trying to build a collection that maintains the established business of the past and moves toward something new. There is a definite intention to build a balance. This will be a new part of the Valentino history, a new era."Unlike many other venerable fashion houses that have chosen to forgo their costly and rarely profitable haute couture divisions, Facchinetti couldn't conceal her excitement at working with Valentino's couture atelier in February, after the designer's final runway bow. "There is a workroom which is the strongest in the world," she said.
Facchinetti, who moved onto the fashion radar after a short-lived stint as head of women's wear at Gucci, said she was made to feel very welcome at Valentino, although she hasn't yet met Valentino himself — "We tried," she said — but has spoken to his business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, on the phone. She said that, fashion-wise, she feels like something of a kindred spirit to the legendary designer.
"You can't imagine how honored I am," Facchinetti said. "It was the last thing I thought would happen. I can't compare Valentino with anyone. He is a part of the history of fashion. This is a new start."
Facchinetti added she will treasure all the Valentino elements and history "like a jewel. I really feel very close to him and his sense of beauty, romance and femininity. But I don't want to compare myself with him at all. For me, the best gift is if he is happy about what I am doing, but I am a different person. I am a woman."
That said, Valentino's own extravagant lifestyle has always been inextricably linked to the appeal of the clothes, a notion Facchinetti is very aware of, but not too perturbed by. "He spent 40 years and I am just starting," she said. "I want to improve on the complete view of Valentino, and explore the lifestyle of the house.
"Today, I feel much clearer about what I want and who I am," she added, perhaps with a nod to her stint at Gucci. "The approach is really me and it's my aesthetic. Valentino was very focused on beauty and timelessness, and this is ultimately my approach."
Most recently, Facchinetti had designed the Gamme Rouge collection for Moncler, and the partnership officially ended on Monday. There, she helped put the outerwear company on the fashion map, adding details such as sequins, plumes and hand-embroidery to the brand's signature down jackets."Moncler was very important for me," she said. "It was the first project I could really express myself in, which would seem bizarre because it has such a sports focus, but the approach was the same. I started with a couture approach and translated it into sport, with embroidery and finishes. It probably helped me get to where I am today much more than what I did in the past."
Facchinetti, who landed in New York on Sunday, plans to return to Italy today.
"I love New York, I love walking here," she said, adding that in her free time she would like to check out the New Museum on the Bowery and dine at her favorite Manhattan eatery, Bottega del Vino.
"For me, it was very important to come to New York," Facchinetti said. "I want to be here to explain what I am doing. I always feel it's important to meet in person, and to explain the way I work, and the way the pieces are constructed so that people understand who I am."
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty