The impulse to move beyond streetwear, and come up with a new take on tailoring, has been gaining momentum in the big fashion cities, with Valentino the latest brand to feel the beat. Pierpaolo Piccioli put last season’s ill-judged streetwear collection — with its busy patterns and over-logoed everything — behind him, with his latest effort a polished mix of slouchy, tailored clothing with an artsy, sci-fi twist.
“I’m not going to say that streetwear is over, and I don’t think anyone wants to renounce their sneakers,” said Piccioli, adding that he wanted to rethink the suit, move away from the stiff Nineties aesthetic, and pivot toward something more modern, free and fluid. “I wanted to take another look at the values of tailoring, and do something more relaxed, effortless, a suit you can wear all week and on the weekends, if you want,” he said backstage after the show.
He also wanted to democratize his offer, and open up the fashion house to new men and new ideas. To wit: He worked with Undercover’s Jun Takahashi, who’s been turning out upscale streetwear since the Nineties, on the show’s cartoonish, sci-fi illustrations, including the fusion of Edgar Allan Poe with a spaceship, designs that were due to appear in Undercover’s show later Wednesday evening. He worked with Birkenstock on the footwear, because it’s “the opposite of a couture brand,” said Piccioli.
The result was an elegant but laid-back lineup of suits, coats and knits: Naïf, surreal portraits of Poe, sometimes with a spaceship for a face, came embroidered onto long, roomy sweaters or painted onto leather shoppers. A bright red moonscape and a blue spaceship wound their way around the hem of a long navy coat, while white graffiti lifted the mood of a sober, double-breasted suit with a double hem.
Piccioli dialed down the V logo and house branding, which appeared in abstract form on knits, or across nylon coats and capes. For fall, it’s all about the spaceship, a pattern that hovered over outerwear, or blasted off from the fronts of overcoats. The new tailoring has landed, and what a sight it is.