Valentino Spring 2011: Tied Too Closely To Tradition?
Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. PARIS--In January 2009 at the historic lecture hall of the Sorbonne, newly-anointed designers Pier Paolo Piccoli and Maria Grazia Chuiri, personal protégés of Mr. Valentino, presented their spring Haute Couture collection. It was virtually immersed in the house codes and heritage, with little indication of their own voices. The road that Mr. Piccoli and Ms. Grazia Chuiri have traveled since at Valentino includes figuring out how to inject their own visions--drawn from their own experiences and observations--into clothes for a new generation. One of the most difficult jobs in fashion today is working at a once venerable institution currently in need of transformation. In a quiet showing at the Halle Freyssinet--where the industrial depot was momentarily outfitted with camel colored cotton benches--the designers clearly embraced the foundations of Valentino.