After an 18-month period in which the intensely frenzied fashion week engine stopped whirring, many brands have returned to the runway with a renewed sense of purpose, and a fresh thoughtfulness about what it is they are aiming to achieve.
One such designer is Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, who last night staged a runway show in a covered market in the 3rd arrondissement that quite literally spilled out onto the streets, allowing for members of the general public to become a part of proceedings.
“Fashion is imagined in the studio and created in the Atelier, but it is on the street that it becomes alive and real,” said the designer, who took over an entire block – including three restaurants and a florist – for the show, and had models snaking their way along a series of pavements and alleyways surrounding the vast venue before they hit the runway. Once they’d completed their turn on the catwalk –set out as a Parisian café scene – they returned once again to line up in the street, much to the joy of the cheering crowds who had assembled in droves.
The clothes themselves were boldly coloured and joyous, and with nearly 100 mens and womenswear looks, there really was something for everybody.
The show opened with a beaded white mini dress with exploding fluted sleeves, one of five pieces in the collection that were carbon copy replicas of archive Valentino styles, among them a fabulous floor-skimming zebra-print coat and a romantic black and ruby floral chiffon gown.
Jewel-coloured taffeta, a house signature, was made approachable and easy-to-wear in oversized shirts, blouson sleeve bombers and Bermuda shorts. Elsewhere baggy jeans, a major trend this season, offset the formality of broderie anglaise and embroidered shirts. The footwear was similarly down to earth, with gold and tan iterations of the Garavani Roman stud sandals that laced up to the knee worn with most looks.
While sequin lime green bowling shirts and gowns, floor-sweeping regal purple capes and dramatic white evening coats with elaborate floral sequin embroidered backs delivered the drama one expects from Valentino, there were teeny weeny cutout mini dresses in black, lime and fuchsia, throw-on-and-go tailoring and even pull-over anoraks that gave the collection an approachable, works-for-all appeal.
As Piccioli told Vogue: “Fashion is about humans and the world you welcome into your clothes, not the clothes themselves.”