After 40 years in the business it wasn’t the smoothest transition when Valentino Garavani stepped down from his empire. He was followed by Alessandra Facchinetti, who at the age of 35, took over as Valentino’s womenswear creative director only to be dropped two seasons later. In Facchinetti’s place came Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli – who together recently presented their first Valentino couture show.
The duo, who spent over ten years working under Mr. Valentino in the accessories division, have the Italian legend’s endorsement (he sat front row at their first presentation in January 2009), but the overall welcome has been mixed.
The duo just present their first ready to wear collection in Paris and given that Facchinetti was accused of stepping too far away from the Valentino aesthetic it’s little surprise that the collection was full of Valentino touches.
That said, Chiuri and Piccioli certainly left their mark.
While the overall feel of the clothes remained true to the ladylike aesthetic Mr. Valentino pioneered – trim capes, vibrant satins, careful embellishments (I recommend that anyone who hasn’t yet done so, go see the recent Matt Tyrnauer Valentino documentary ‘The Last Emperor’ which gives insight into just how the exquisitely crafted dresses are created with the help of dedicated seamstresses) – many of the looks were clean and toned down in refreshing ways.
Focused on fit and drape and topped-off with high slits, they didn’t come adored with feathers or crystals.
The models had their hair down with light makeup versus the classic up-do, crimson lips, and all out glamour many might have been expecting.
This collection had a younger, cleaner feel and seemed tailored to a broader audience, making it a promising first collection for Chiuri and Piccioli.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.