Rumors had been swirling around Valentino all week, and it turns out they weren’t just grist for the mill. After two seasons Alessandra Facchinetti is out and the house’s longtime accessories designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli are in. Which is too bad, because as Val’s first successor, Facchinetti has been a pleasant surprise. Sure, she got off to a safe start last fall. But between her debut couture collection in July and now spring, Facchinetti showed real promise, maintaining the house’s signature femininity and penchant for decoration while clearly seeking a younger audience.
Her finale collection was full of such styles, starting with the first look: a polka dot shift with sheer black sleeves and a collar traced in a load of braided embellishment. It was pretty and polished with a youthful ease, made more so via sporty details, such as shirttail hems on dresses and shorts and bedazzled glovelets. The same could be said of the silk military jackets worn with snappy shorts, a silhouette that was worked in various versions, whether plain or cinched with an elaborate sparkle-encrusted belt. And evening, in particular, a black embroidered halter on top and a filmy powder blue chiffon skirt below, had glamour sans fuss. Several gowns were simple, in unadorned silks and worn with flats. It wasn’t perfect – some seriously overdone epaulets got in the way of otherwise chic styles – but everything was well executed. It looked like Facchinetti knew what she was doing.

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