A lookbook’s job, by very nature, is intended to introduce the aesthetic of a collection to the world.
So it is, of course, no surprise that the youthful energy from Valentino’s PF20 lookbook is indicative of one of the most divinely-joyous pre-fall collections we have laid eyes on for quite some seasons.
Shot in the sprawling space that acts as home to the Valentino studio, Rome’s Palazzo Mignanelli the shoot’s aesthetic – much like the collection – balances a raw, ruffian mood with a dash of polished refinement.
While we have come to know and adore the house’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, for his poetic vision and ethereal garments, these elements rarely transcend into pre-fall collections. This particular space in the fashion calendar is customarily reserved for transitional practicalities and commercial opportunity – small scale pre-cursers, setting the tone for the brands’ A/W20 showing in September. Valentino’s pre-fall collection, however, felt nothing like an introduction. Instead, the 52 looks felt quite firmly like the main event.
An initial palette of chintzy blue-willow china, interpreted in column dresses, saw a swift crescendo into an explosion of kaleidoscopic hues and smorgasbord of silhouettes. The DNA we have come to cherish from Pierpaolo’s Valentino was unmistakably present. ‘Vlogos’ were scattered generously over boot-tops, belt closures and purse-clasps, and there was no shortage of gauzy cascades of limb-baring sheer chiffon. The head-to-toe lace styles that we first fell in love with at the S/S20 show was present, but had levelled-up into sophisticated trench-silhouettes and piquant-pigments of tangerine neon.
The brand seemed almost greedy in their charge to explore every hemline, silhouette and textile. The potpourri of styles that hop, skipped and jumped through work, casual, cocktail and evening attire remained tightly bound in cohesiveness by a single yet sturdy thread of unadulterated opulence and romance. These are more than bridge-gapping garments; these are queue all night and keep forever classics in the making.
While the fashion calendar continues to quiver in its uncertain fate, and the conversation around excess drops and superfluous shows becomes increasingly deafening, we are sure of one thing. Let Valentino’s forever fashion, in any format, never be a legacy or spectacle that ends.
Images supplied by Valentino