As the song says, breaking up is hard to do. But while the parting of ways between Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at the creative helm of Valentino may have been the end of a design partnership made in heaven, Piccioli’s debut solo collection gave us one of the best shows of Paris Fashion Week.
The broken hearts scattered over Piccioli’s magical dresses may have been symbolic, but this collection read like a love letter to women everywhere – from the mouthwatering colour palette of luscious pinks, reds and chartreuse, to the intricate prints and embroideries created in collaboration with veteran designer Zandra Rhodes.
Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s painting the Garden of Earthly Delights, these naïvely styled embellishments were delicately rendered on everything from wispy lace-trimmed sheers to a pale pink beaded jacket, teamed with fuchsia cut velvet pants.
The references may have been historical, but Piccioli never strayed into the costume archive with his sensuous bias-cut godet dresses, demure necklines and ankle-skimming silhouettes. Some of the best exits came with a minimalist modern feel, as seen in the brilliant fuchsia caped crepe dress, the simple satinised crepe separates in poudre pink, or the bright cyclamen cashmere ribbon-tied sweater layered over a white shirt and raspberry cut velvet pants.
And for everyday, there were trenches and a soft raw-edged parka in the mix, along with glossy leather reefer jackets and jet-beaded midi coats. But it was the beautiful detailing, the sheer femininity of those pretty dresses and the luscious colour mixes that made this collection sing. Not forgetting the velvet ankle-tied slippers, tiny enamelled minaudiere purses and chain-handled suede bags. Piccioli’s first solo collection was one to cherish.
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