The show must go on for Valentino Haute Couture.
On Tuesday, Pierpaolo Piccioli debuted his latest for the house, titled Code Temporal Spring 2021. For his last haute couture show, the designer — unable to host a traditional runway presentation, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic — staged a multimedia experience that included a film by Nick Knight and models on aerial rings. This time, he ditched the catwalk (and audience) once again, in favor of having his models make their way through the Sala Grande of the Galleria Colonna in Rome to a soundtrack by Robert Del Naja, as a captions flashed below identifying the person wearing the look, the people who made the look and additional information about the look itself. (The perforated cape worn by Mariacarla Boscono to open the show, for example, is styled over a strawberry-red top and fuchsia wool-silk trousers.)
One might expect a Valentino couture presentation to be a parade of red-carpet gowns, ready to be plucked by only the quickest celebrity stylists, but the Spring 2021 line felt a little more grounded in our current reality — one with no movie premieres, award shows or galas, only days and nights spent at home. There was an emphasis on big, bold boxy top layers that revealed softer, less structured pieces underneath. It felt like a couture approach to clothing you'd wear to go about your day (think loose-fit trousers, breezy Bermuda shorts, "seconde peau" dresses and slouchy sleeveless vests).
That's not to say there wasn't the glamour and fantasy you'd want out of a couture-grade (and -priced) garment. A series of perforated coats and skirts embodies the feat of craftsmanship mixed with wearability that couture customers gravitate towards. A fully bejeweled top will likely dazzle on a celebrity doing promo for a project virtually. (Newly-minted Valentino muse Zendaya, maybe?) A cashmere coat fully covered in gold lurex fringe is just the kind of eye-grabbing garment street-style stars seek out for fashion week photo opps. (You know, for whenever those come back.) Plus, it's hard to imagine wearing those dizzyingly tall platform heels anywhere other than one's living room.
Still, even some of the show-stopping pieces were touched by the way we're living now, which invites a sort of casualization. Some of the big, shapely skirts towards the end of the presentation were crafted out of a scuba fabric, made with a mix of organza and taffeta. There was even a cashmere-lined oversized hoodie in the mix — featuring a gold lamé shell, because couture.
Piccioli fans will appreciate the color palette, packed with some of his favorite shades: a bold fuchsia, a soft rosy pink, a creamy ivory white, a warm chocolaty brown, an electric green and, of course, Valentino red. Then, there are the embellishments that have made his Valentino couture beloved by clientele, celebrities and fashion fans like, such as iridescent sequins, rose appliqués and slick elbow-length gloves.
See every single look from Valentino's Spring 2021 Haute Couture collection in the gallery, below.