Haute Couture Runway Report: Valentino Fall Winter 10/11

By: Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Valentino
Season:  Haute Couture Fall Winter 10/11
Designer: Maria Grazia, Pier Paolo Piccioli

” I didn’t have dough handed to me because of my good cheekbones, I had to earn it”, said the character Neely O’ Hara in 1967’s Valley of the Dolls. Indeed, the same could be said of Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo Piccioli and their fall collection. While critics were at first skeptical of their efforts at the house, they have shown how fresh their voices are in the world of Haute Couture. They played with transparency in blouses, baby doll dresses and collars in an array of black, white and pink. A white baby doll dress had tiers of white fringe and seemed to epitomize the youthfulness of the show and the happy marriage that is possible between the old and the new. One short dress had a large oversized flower on the front and was the sort of piece you would wear every day were your life reminiscent of the chic, fun loving girls of the 60s and today. A structured jacket with a short skirt in a powdery pink featured bows running down the sides that seemingly held the sleeves together. Indeed, these could be found on a trapeze coat near the beginning of the show. Was this their way of commenting on the fragility of youth and, indeed, couture?

It was as feminine as can be, but had strength in its anonymity, save for the Valentino red that made an appearance in the evening wear. These were impeccable clothes but the truth is that one would need a magnifying glass to see and understand the craftsmanship that lay in the details. These were the kind of clothes little girls and mature young women dream about. While one can think of Grazia and Piccioli as brave, they are doing what Haute Couture needs now more than ever. There must be more to it than a price tag and status. Youth is paramount in this world as well. Young women may not be satisfied looking through their mothers’ archives. They want the new, the now and, yes, the exclusive. Isn’t that always the way?


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