Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have developed into couture’s most unabashed romantics.
For the Valentino collection their starting point was opera. Chiuri and Piccioli opened with a literal nod to their musical muse — a wisp of a tulle gown, its skirt embroidered for graphic pop with a section of the “La Traviata” score. This had a surrealist vibe, at once enchanting and wacky. Yet that charmer proved one note, as the designers moved on to other flights of fancy.
In line with their platform of individuality, the duo showed variety of shapes — ethereal ballgowns, airy golden lace caftan, thicker blue-and-brown lace sheath. One gown featured a Lucas Cranach-inspired pictorial of Adam and Eve before the fall, reveling in the glories of nature.
Such distinctive pieces didn’t negate significant themes. Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin” inspired the first of several ballerinas, this one pale and wrapped swanlike in feathers. Another theme — jungle! Here, the designers proved their bravado with bold, verdant imagery starring giant cheetahs and lions.
While some, including a pair of cashmere coats, were amazing, a silk lion-face dress looked like a head shot of Disney’s Simba. And so as not to ignore women with simpler tastes, Chiuri and Piccioli included inviting, monastic simplicity for day and evening.