The Valentino couture collection wasn’t as easy to like as it usually is. Austere it certainly was. Unmissable too. But it lacked the light touch we’ve come to expect from the 25-year partnership of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Maybe that was no surprise because that partnership is now over. Chiuri’s departure from the brand has been confirmed by Valentino. Piccolo is now sole creative director and everyone expects Chiuri to be announced as the new creative chief at Dior any minute now.
So with drama off the catwalk, it wasn’t a shock that the on-catwalk looks made the models look like actors in a Shakespearean/Jacobean drama. Globe Theatre here we come.
Cue ruffs and almost-clerical robes, shorter dresses and trouser-based looks that feel like they should have come with a rapier as the key accessory, and an overall theme that was less about beauty and more about impact.
But of course, what was on everyone’s minds wasn’t this collection. It was all the collections to come, both at Dior and Valentino, that the two designers will create on their own.
Their individual signatures that have been submerged in one of the most creatively successful luxury partnerships ever will now become clear and we can’t wait.
Dior really needs a short in the arm while Valentino needs continuity and no hint of dramatic change as it prepares for a likely IPO.
Maybe it’s not as exciting as a Shakespearean tragedy but it comes close.