“Tutta bellissima!” Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s spring collection for Valentino passed muster with at least one prominent house loyalist — the founder himself, who was whisked backstage to a round of applause immediately following the show. “I was very happy because I found lots of homage to my work,” he said. “That was very Valentino, with a new interpretation.”
His assessment was spot-on, not only in terms of the collection’s beauty, but also its allegiance to Valentino’s stylistic legacy, which hasn’t always been Chiuri and Piccioli’s top priority. Here, they strove for “balance,” said Piccioli. “Our sensibility” — an edgy-ethereal mood that’s sometimes at odds with the house heritage — “in an effortless way.” And they achieved their goal by way of a single silhouette, a Seventies-ish fluid flare, whether in the form of dresses or tunics worn over shorts, that gracefully toed the line between the classic lady and modern ingenue.
The designers were careful to intersperse casual-yet-chic fare, including denim and structured cotton, among the fancier stuff. Shirtdresses with high-cut necks and skinny belts at the waist progressed from day to evening, the former unembellished save for a ruffled hem and bow-tie cuffs, the latter done up in vertical ruffles and sheer layers in black and nude. Lacework, often done in multiples on one look, was lovely.