By  on April 7, 2008

Inheriting the baton from a retiring maestro is a daunting task. But Alessandra Facchinetti—who also took on Gucci’s women’s wear after Tom Ford left—managed a respectable performance without any major tumbles as she showed her first collection for the iconic house of Valentino. Respecting Val’s ladylike look, Facchinetti imbued it with a bit of modern swing. She reined in the label’s typical power makeup and gave a more easygoing, tightly edited show. Though the retired Roman couturier stayed home, his longtime partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, sitting in the front row beside Winona Ryder, scrutinized every look with visible intent, especially as the new designer put her spin on some signature gambits, including the red siren gown.  Most critics found the collection fine, while others criticized Facchinetti for not making enough of her own statement. Admittedly, it’s hard to respect the past and innovate for the future, especially the first time out.

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