For the moment let us focus on all the positives about this collection. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are absolute masters when it comes to details and execution, they are inventive and they embrace the couture mindset, no matter what collection they work on and for those factors alone they deserve to be commended.
What my problem has been is how they perceive the world of Valentino. They see it as monastic and somewhat somber and more minimalist in design. By no means am I saying that their lush embroideries are lacking anything but it is their brooding color schemes and their themes that seem to work contrary to the brand’s DNA. I know the clothes have been widely accepted on an editorial level but so what?, do they sell and who do they sell to? Supposedly these clothes skew younger but I don’t see many young women who perceive themselves as vestal virgins or washed out spinsters or drab lifeless girls.
The conundrum being that giving clothes away to young women in order to pimp the collection is one thing but how many of these young ladies are actually BUYING? Can it be that this is just another brand in search of selling another pair of shoes or another handbag? Valentino in its glory days was equal parts signora and sex kitten; it was chic and it was dowdy; it was loud and it was conservative but it was NEVER thematic to this degree and never worried about what anyone else was doing. Case in point is that this collection starts out as an ode to Lisa Perry on some level and then segues back to my beloved Miuccia and then continues on the couture path from this past January. The harlequin patternings in leather remind of the cheap leathers that were sold on 8th Street in the 70s and once again I point out that transparent does not equate to young. There is this prim up tight undercurrent that I find highly disturbing.
In the words of Mrs. Vreeland... Where is the pizazz here? Workmanship can only go so far. I find a lot of what I see as not quite cheesy but certainly not what I would consider to be slick and urbane... is that too much to ask for? Where’s the red, where’s the leopard, where is the lushness of design? It is all part and parcel of what made Valentino the huge success that it was and it is all still viable but very much absent.