**Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--It was almost two years ago to the day that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took over as designers for Valentino and presented their first couture show in the sumptuous hall at the Sorbonne with the full support of its founder. In their past couture collections, the duo has tried to insert their own ideas while still maintaining the essentials of the Roman house, often resulting in confused collections. How much tradition to respect and how much to let go?
But the haute couture collection Chiuri and Piccioli presented Wednesday evening at the Rothschild Hotel proved that they have now started to speak on their own terms and showed just how far they have come since their debut couture collection for Valentino. The collection begged the question: who is the women who wears Valentino couture? I keep thinking that the woman who would wear that sheer dress with the butterfly bow is one that would pose nude with just the bow for a Helmut Newton portrait. And these confident and sexual women have plenty to choose from in a collection comprised of soft, light clothes in longer silhouettes--a layered organza dress in camel with a ruffled neck, a double crepe dress in ivory, or a sheer black organza dress with embroidered organza flowers. The Valentino heritage--ruffles on the lapels of organza jackets, long sparkling lace dress, reds chiffon strapless dress--still permeated the collection but these motifs are now reworked in subtle ways. For those yearning for more couture shapes, Valentino will launch a Techno Couture capsule collection in May of this year with couture looks done in wool and cotton (read: slightly more affordable than couture).
All photos: Imaxtree