#SuzyPFW: Valentino: Poetry Inhabits Dreamlike Collection
In twinkling lights above the runways, the Valentino show started with this message: “The people you love become ghosts inside you and like this you keep them alive.”
It was a message from a Scottish poet, Robert Montgomery, sent out both digitally with the lights and in a little book on every chair: Valentino on Love. Inside, four poets had written few, but meaningful words. “In your eyes I can see an eternity,” mused Mustafa the Poet, a 22-year-old Grammy award-winning songwriter from Toronto, who also wrote, “We can’t escape what keeps us dreaming.”
Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s creative director, wants to keep on dreaming for his fashion house, and the collection had the sweet feel of women oblivious to the world around them, as they wrapped the soft clothes across their bodies or let the fabric slither over them.
This show came only a few weeks after Pierpaolo’s noble and emotional haute couture dedicated to the beauty of black women. But this was a ready-to-wear collection, which could not be filled with the swish of floor-length fabrics, nor the dream quality of couture.
But the designer was going to have a try at melding dream and reality. Using an association with the poets and with the visual originals, such as Jun Takahashi of Undercover, Pierpaolo made clothes that flowed across the body with the ease born of a master tailor and an exceptional Italian studio.
“It’s very romantic but to me it has a different image, not the romanticism from the past,” said the designer. “I want romanticism to be relevant for today, which is different. I am talking to a generation that is digital, but that appreciates life and humanity. What we all are looking for are dreams and hope behind every flat screen.
“I always want to keep a surprise,” he continued, as he flipped back a collar or turned to the back of a dress and showed that the little poems and phrases were embedded in the clothes.
“I love you beyond words,” taken from the book, was another phrase that the designer picked out. “When you love someone you are in a different universe,” he said, “and the graphic is very special because it is so visual. It has these pieces around it, but it is free, it doesn’t have a corset.”
So Pierpaolo pulled off the unexpected: clothes for daytime with a draped leather minidress or a black suit with a flared skirt swinging down to mid-calf, shown alongside dreamier pieces. And it made for a sweet pairing: a classic cream raincoat with butterfly wings entwined in a print near the hem.
The idea of dream and reality in one garment – not to mention a single show – was audacious, but Pierpaolo pulled it off, con brio.