VALENTINO SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

Milan Fashion Week closed with a bang, with Pierpaolo Piccioli presenting his Valentino collection for the first time here in Milan.

By Balthzar Malevolent

VALENTINO SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

In a declaration of support for the Italian fashion system and making the most out of the difficult circumstances the pandemic has forced upon us, he opted for an act of bravery—and bravura. He decided to decamp from the ornate Parisian fabulousness of the Salomon de Rothschild salons for the powerful industrial rawness of Fonderie Macchi, a metallurgical foundry active in Milan from 1936. “In this moment, sticking to an old mindset for me just wasn’t an option,” he said at the post-show press conference.

Choosing a venue at odds with Valentino’s typical optics, so deep-rooted in couture, signaled the bold stance Piccioli was taking in the re-definition of the house’s stylistic codes—a process he called re-signification. “I focused on working more on Valentino’s identity than on its aesthetics,” he reflected. The wording could sound slightly highfalutin and self-congratulatory. But, as always with Piccioli, his approach was as instinctual as it was sophisticated; he’ll go down as one of fashion’s romantic visionaries, able to orchestrate moments of true creative enjoyment, both emotional and visually elevated.

Romanticism was actually much on his mind while working on the collection. He called it radical. But what does it mean being a radical romantic today? “For me, it rhymes with individuality, with the freedom to express our very own identity and diversity,” he answered. Being romantic means also not following the rules, embracing idealism, being rebellious—fighting for a better world. Believing that things can change: “Fashion for me is a way to talk about the values that matter today,” he said. “The true acceptance of diversity. Tolerance and kindness. This is the world I want to tell through my work as a designer.”

If aesthetics can actually suggest something about one’s life, then today’s street casting was a celebration of the many diverse-looking people Piccioli wants to include in his narration. Each look was individual, thoroughly chosen according to the personality of the character, young men and women coming from different backgrounds and walks of life. Yet from a fashion standpoint, the collection looked more cohesive than usual: streamlined and with fewer of the decorative flourishes and certain hyperbolic gestures of couture.

Valentino Spring 2021 RTW.
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