The ability of designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli to produce fresh, interesting expressions of Valentino's codes and signatures — in not just two, but seven womenswear collections this year — is astounding. It's a good thing that there are two of them, especially given that the pre-fall collection alone comprises nearly 100 looks (not items, looks), many of which include multiple layers and accessories.
For pre-fall, fortunately, they had a little help via a collaboration with British print master Celia Birtwell on a number of gorgeous florals, seen on feminine-yet-conservative dresses, a knee-length vest, a cape, sweaters and even boots.
The label's pre-fall press preview was arranged sort of like a runway show with mannequins in place of models; the floral looks were placed in the front of the room. After the florals came a number of cute heart motifs and daytime-appropriate camo and denim pieces, some embroidered beautifully with butterflies — very Valentino-goes-casual. Rainbow stripes, also very Valentino, in muted fall tones are seen on boots and handbags in classic silhouettes. Perhaps to alleviate print/embroidery exhaustion, a number of daytime-appropriate solid and colorblocked looks comprised the middle part of the collection, including jeans and beautiful statement outerwear — an A-line leopard print jacket with a light blue fur collar was my personal favorite.
The collection's grand finale features dresses, skirts, boots, handbags and a cape with a cosmic motif with moons, planets and constellations. It looked gorgeous, with just the right amount of kitsch. The collection as a whole felt relevant, wearable and still very Valentino. Chiuri and Piccioli always know how to do pretty — and this collection was that — but it also showed that they know how to do cool, with an artistic element that makes so much sense for the brand. Browse the full pre-fall offering below.