Pierpaolo Piccioli is one of fashion's best dreamers, especially when it comes to couture. His couture collections for Valentino are always infused with a sculptural purity and an unparalleled color sensibility; but more than that, they do what the 99.9% of us who can't afford a custom tulle confection want from the high-end craft: They turn fantasy into a sartorial reality.
His latest couture offering for the Italian house, which debuted outside the regular couture schedule at the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing on Thursday evening, did just that. As Tiffany Ap noted in her review for WWD, "Piccioli hoped people would think of it as a daydream, the title of this particular collection, in which two ancient capitals – Renaissance-era Rome and imperialistic Beijing – engage in a dialogue," with the show notes indicating that the ultra-romantic range is designed to erase "boundaries between reality and desire."
"Under the arcades of the Summer Palace a fantastic encounter of two different cultures happen like a dream unfolding before the viewers' open eyes," the show notes state. "Symbols, colors, decorations merge one into the other as the Italian spirit of the Renaissance meets the opulence of the Chinese splendor."
The result of this meeting — aptly dubbed "Valentino daydream" — was an over-the-top fashion treat: a rich-looking velvet ballgown covered in hundreds of shaded pink bows; an intarsia opera coat composed of swirling sections of green sequins; a feathered, hooded ground-grazing cape; a voluminous dress made of ruffles of cherry-red point d'esprit; and a dramatic head-to-toe shimmery concoction.
An elaborate gown with superb 3-D effect floral detailing closed the show, leaving us with a lasting taste of Piccioli's magnificent daydream.
See the full Valentino Beijing couture collection in the gallery below.