While Valentino is known for the exquisitely executed, conservatively feminine looks it sends down the runway twice a year, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli tend to get a bit funkier for pre-collections. Their latest resort range, shown on mannequins at the label's New York offices earlier this week, was a particularly interesting experiment in high-low.
The stunning evening gowns and couture-level details were there, but so were sneakers (reminiscent of Chuck Taylors, but multi-colored and embellished), cowboy boots, flat sandals, leather jackets, and lots of mini skirts and dresses. There were also pieces embroidered with lions, flamingos, elephants and unicorns that called to mind the Lisa Frank illustrations that covered our elementary school notebooks and backpacks. It was a little kitsch, a little boho — the resort lookbook was even styled with headbands and feathered earrings that would not have looked out of place at Coachella.
Some might pause over pieces featuring what a spokesperson described as "Navajo" prints (see below) — which Chiuri and Pierpaolo pulled from Valentino's archives. Interestingly, prints used elsewhere in the collection were done in collaboration with artist Christi Belcourt, a member of Canada's Métis tribe — probably a better way to for a pair of Italian designers to incorporate tribal motifs into their luxury fashion collection.
There's no question that the once-quiet brand has amped the volume as of late, one big example being the decision to make its fall 2015 runway show in Paris the setting for a headline-making PR stunt for the upcoming film "Zoolander 2." While the designers may be having a little more fun, they still haven't strayed too far from the Valentino codes, and their ability to continually interpret them in new ways is undeniably impressive. This collection had some stunning pieces, which you can peruse below.