Pre-fall 17: Can Pierpaolo Piccioli cut it at Red Valentino?

Red Valentino pre-fall 2017One of the most intriguing things about a design duo is who does what and who was the one who really gives the collection that certain something that made it special. Or indeed, do both of them have what it takes?

When they split, finding out whether they were more George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley than John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is always a revelation

The Pierpaolo Piccioli/Maria Grazia Chiuri partnership had us all scanning every detail of the Valentino and Dior collections for SS17. The verdict seemed to be that PP had the better time of it. MGC did, it must be said, have the tougher job, taking over in the high profile Dior pilot’s seat and just about pulling git off.

Piccioli for SS17 was sublime, continuing a well trodden path and replacing his former partner’s deft way with print by teaming up with print queen Zandra Rhodes.

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For the pre-fall 17 collection for the younger Red Valentino line he’s quite sensibly moved a bit further away from print as a driving trend, focusing instead on the silhouette and total look.

Not that it’s a complete about face, of course. When you build up a client base that loves your particular brand of youth, whimsy and cuteness, you can’t afford to be too radical.

But this collection is definitely lower on whimsy than usual, Piccioli choosing instead to go a bit more beatnik, a bit more 60s/70s retro and citing new York’s Chelsea Hotel in those two decades (and its rock icon guest list) as an inspiration.

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What that means is an offer that looks hugely commercial, from Breton striped tops (but in red and black) to little mini dresses, sone simple pantsuits (one look clearly inspired by the cover of Patti Smith’s Horses album), floral or star print maxis, buckled pointy-toe ankle boots, a sublime biker jacket with metallic edging, and even some 70s-style Lurex ankle socks and great dotted tights (always loved the latter since Dior did them more than 40 years ago).

But for the customers who’ve grown to love the soft toned mix of sheers and quirky motifs of the Pierpaolo Piccioli/Maria Grazia Chiuri combo era, there’s enough to keep them interested.

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Dot voile dresses with floral motifs, tiered semi-sheers in pale blue or lemon with lace inserts, plus bows, beads and frills and plenty of looks pretty enough to double up as wedding/bridesmaids’ dresses.

If Maria Grazia Chiuri is able to continue stamping her vision on Dior as Pierpaolo Piccioli has done on Valentino and Red Valentino, it looks like we could definitely have a Lennon-McCartney here and not a Michael-Ridgeley. Thank goodness.

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