Valentino's couture show was the best Paris has seen in years
There were two stand-out couture shows this week. The first was Givenchy – its first couture collection in eight years and its first ever by a woman, the British Clare Waight Keller.
The other was Valentino, designed by the Italian Pierpaolo Piccioli, and probably the best couture show seen in years. Nude with Kelly green, lavender with yellow, purple and mint… on and on the colour juxtapositions went, always arresting but never jarring. They made you want to rush back and reblend your own wardrobe, which is exactly the effect a good show should have.
It wasn’t just colour that made this exceptional. Piccioli delivers couture at its most dreamily elevated, without ever resorting to some ridiculous caricatured notion of a “couture woman”, whatever that might be.
Who doesn’t want a satin tunic blouse with neck or waist ties in their evening repertoire now, or some fluid, colourful silk trousers, or a taffeta evening coat you could toss on over everything? That kind of take-out inspiration is more rare than it should be at couture.
Even his most ruffly, imposing designs are marked by a lightness of touch that testifies to the outstanding technique and craft of their designer and his atelier – and of both entities working together in perfect mutual understanding.