A time when Shakespeare broke free of England’s past style of theatre, revolutionising the stage. A time when England triumphed over Spain, when new possibilities and ideals were explored and discussed.
To be or not to be” that is the question posed by Valentino designers Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri when staging this brilliant Shakespearean spectacle. Full of drama, the collection exhibited Elizabethan opulence fit for a Holbein painting and was nothing for the faint of heart. Rich, severe in the styling, and rather melancholic due to the tight, puritan-esque hair and heavy dark fabrics are what immediately come to mind. Melancholic, too, as this is the last ever collection by both Piccioli and Chiuri together, as Chiuri has officially stepped away from Valentino and is confidently said to take on the role of creative director at Dior (announcement expected tomorrow). Hence change is in the air at both maisons, similar to the epoch based on this collection.
The Elizabethan era was considered an English renaissance and the golden period in English history. A time when Shakespeare broke free of England’s past style of theatre, revolutionising the stage. A time when England triumphed over Spain, when new possibilities and ideals were explored and discussed. A time when international expansion was met with glee, awe, and opportunity. In the wake of last week’s BREXIT, this perspective is almost seen as the antithesis of the Britain today – or at least the 52% majority… Ah the good old days (well sans, Off with your head and burn the witches!)
The collection reigned commercially with sheer, simple floor length gowns catching the eye of prestigious clientele (as to be expected by the namesake) but in the more avant-garde pieces reminded us of Alexander McQueen due to the over the top theatrical nature of some looks, which at times came across as too “costumey”- I remind you that the designing duo just finished designing the costumes for La Traviata (directed by Sophia Coppola) and certainty have a knack for period-drama. From the imperial ruffs, shoulder puffs, blood reds, heavy brocades, and Oliver Cromwell pizzazz, this Autumn collection was a poignant melodrama so emotional, I actually shed a tear when I saw the grand finally. (I’m always a sucker with tragedies)
“No legacy is so rich as honesty” and I think that the Valentino duo fulfilled theirs with authenticity and truth in their story telling, redefining femininity. With sorrow they part, but how exciting the times are which lie ahead for both and also to see how their aesthetics will differ from one another.
As a conclusion to haute couture fashion week, the last thing to say is Adieu, Bravo and exit stage right.