Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli continue to make Red Valentino as big an influencer as its (more expensive) mainline elder sister Valentino. Let’s hope they don’t get any ideas about label-merging, something many other brands are doing at the moment.
So what did we get for PF16? The inspiration was the Robert Altman movie 3 Women. But I always ignore the headlines about what drives the look of a collection, because when it comes down to it, there’s a lot more behind these things than designers having a “Think Pink” moment.
So think gently 70s-influenced dresses and separates, sweet-but-not-sickly pastels, confirmation of a slightly lower, chunkier heel, some great millefiori-patterned bags and dresses, and a lean cut that is an outright rejection of the Vetements-driven move to wider silhouettes.
What are the top picks for the high street?
Off-shoulder Bardot tops with co-ord smart shorts that look youthful and spot-on for summer parties; sheer shells and blouses made up of lace strips atop a pair of tweedy eyelet-trim shorts (just about qualifying as more relaxed 9-to-5 dressing); and off-shoulder dresses in slightly saturated pinks or yellows with frilled bodices and soft, sweet short skirts for prom time.
Transparency is another key trend, seen from dot-voile blouses through to soft dresses – think French provincial net curtain materials for the off-white pieces, or a touch of Burberry style for a raspberry-toned dress in multiple passementerie-trimmed tiers.
The 70s may not be the Next Big Thing any more but the decade’s influence is still key. Most striking here are the pale tan suede coats and tan or raspberry suede A-line skirts (midi or button-through mini) with appliqué bird and flower placements. The motifs are seen on multiple pieces throughout the collection and work well as studded designs on a denim skirt or raw-hem jeans that’s likely to get the high street excited.
The design duo has ducked the question of whether to back wide trousers or culottes and gone for a compromise – cropped wide pants that are just too long to carry the culotte tag. But it works.
The collection’s key print is a millefiori-style celebration of flowers that feels gently 70s and allows the label to incorporate the crochet that’s set to be key for SS16. Find it on statement day dresses or as a way to turn a classic concertina leather handbag into a fashion piece.
Statement shoes and bags
For shoes, think ankle straps as the key focus. Find them teamed with berry toned suede, eyelet-studded or printed leather. Also key – the three-inch heels that are wide but not deep. And don’t forget the floral appliqué boots (best in ankle length) that continue both Red and Valentino mainline’s love affair with the decorated boot.