Couture F/W 2012: Valentino
At the Fall 2012 show, Valentino’s artful couture evidenced a decidedly blue period, in the best of ways. As Pier Paolo Piccioli explained, the collection – inspired in large part surprisingly not by painter Pablo Picasso, but instead by Gustave Moreau – is intended for a kind “regal beauty,” a woman who is at once “sensual but severe.” Of course, the color palette, majority comprised of midnight blues, even near-black, is fitting for a wearer of just that kind: she who manages to command attention just as she shuns it, a woman who might cloak herself in a floor-length cape to steal quietly into the dead of night, layers of sheer crepe and chiffon billowing behind her as her feet quicken. The best dresses in show were, indeed, sheer-to-there, perhaps serving as a metaphor for the feeling of emotional exposure, a kind of vulnerability that is unfortunately raw and somehow vivid. Most important is that the fabrics favored – the aforementioned silk crepes and chiffons, also lace and cashmere – all feel as beautiful as they wear, and the garments are effortlessly draped about the figure to invite movement, with well-placed ruffles, flattering pleated busts leading into a gathered waist and trailing still downward. The result is a collection that begs to be worn, one that is quietly moody, perhaps somber, and still at once dignified and sophisticated, a triumph for the new era of Valentino under Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.