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Valentino Does Easy, Breezy (and Optimistic) Glamour for Pre-Fall

Who says you can't wear a floor-length, beaded gown with rugged flat boots?
Photo: Valentino

Photo: Valentino

In keeping with the current trend of designers opting to show their resort and pre-fall collections in far-flung locations, Pierpaolo Piccioli brought his second solo offering for Valentino (his first without longtime partner Maria Grazia Chiuri debuted during Paris Fashion Week to rave reviews) to New York City on Wednesday morning. While the industry folks in attendance were surely preoccupied — reports concerning President-elect Donald Trump's ties with Russia as well as some rather salacious allegations had emerged the evening prior, just hours before President Barack Obama delivered his emotional farewell address in Chicago — they were treated to a sunny respite upon entering the majestic (and Instagram-friendly) venue, the Beekman Hotel. 

With its nine-story atrium — the top two floors served as the runway — and skylight that provided pristine views of the downtown skyline, it's clear that Piccioli has a strong reverence for the city, its diversity and the endless opportunity it represents. In fact, the Italian label took to Instagram to reinforce this inspiration, saying that the designer "embraced the America everyone dreams of, one of hope," in creating his pre-fall line. The word "optimism" popped up several times in the show notes, and the soundtrack of Nina Simone's classic "Feeling Good" helped to further drive his point home. 

Valentino is widely known for its feminine, intricate evening wear — a key reason why it's a red carpet favorite — but the hustle and bustle of New York City life was reflected in the collection's focus on daywear. Each look mixed luxurious, ornate elements (appliqués, embroidery, snakeskin, beading, tiered ruffles and fur) with decidedly casual ones, like fun floral prints, ribbed bras worn overtop dresses, crisp collars, pajama-like separates, and an abundance of cozy knits, ranging from short-sleeved sweaters to open-weave frocks.

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To temper the fanciness or sweetness of certain looks — like the dreamy minidresses, brocade outerwear and floor-length formal gowns — they were styled with rugged, thigh-high flat leather boots, backpacks (carried by the top handle) and gloves in every color of the rainbow. In addition, a handful of models walked the two-story runway in sneakers, which definitely made their climb between floors much less of a safety hazard. 

Of course, it wouldn't be a Valentino show without some stellar formalwear, and the closing gowns fit the bill. From a ruby red bustier-style option done up in sequins, to a sheer, pink tiered number with ruffle sleeves, a high neck and ombré paillettes, there were several options for red carpet stylists to fight over before awards season comes to a close. Considering the positive reception of Emma Stone's custom ensemble at Sunday's Golden Globes, our money's on an A-list nominee getting first dibs.

See the full Valentino pre-fall collection in the gallery below.

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