PARIS--"Pretty" sounds like a reductive descriptor for Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli fall 2011 collection for Valentino, but it's apt. "Pretty" over gorgeous or stunning or any other hyperbolic adjective because the collection was restrained, delicate, feminine, and, well, pretty--right down to the flowers appliqued to the necklines of dresses. A twinkly soundtrack reflected the preciousness of the dresses (less so when an awful version of "Missing" by Everything But the Girl was mixed in). Valentino's signature tiers of ruffles and bows were there but not overwhelmingly so, thanks to Chiuri and Piccioli's more focused and fresh reinterpretation of the Valentino heritage. Relaxed suiting consisting of cardigan jackets and slightly flared knee length skirts was done in double cashmere knits. Long-sleeved day dresses hit below the knee or to the floor, were cinched with skinny belts, and came in what the line sheets described as "poetically blurry prints." Lace was used to great effect throughout the collection--and apparently lace and cashmere were woven together "to create three-dimensional textures tailor-made" for Valentino.
It's been two years since Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli stepped in as creative directors at Valentino. In Long Nguyen's review of their recent couture collection, he noted that in the past the design duo had struggled to respect the Valentino heritage while still inserting their own ideas, but that things seemed to be clicking for couture. I'd argue the same goes for ready-to-wear. The collection was cohesive and consistent, pretty if a bit prim at times.
**All photos: Imaxtree.