Valentino pioneers a new aesthetic for its youthful customer at Paris Fashion Week with feminine yet assertive collection

Karen Dacre
Getty Images

Anyone auditing the success of Pierpaolo Piccioli's debut solo collection for Valentino, could have done so with a quick scour of the room at the designer's sophomore show in Paris today.

The proof of his ability to create clothes with major appeal among a youthful clientele was blatant to see as row upon on row of socialites, clad in floaty fuchsia gowns from the designer's current collection, turned up to see what might be in store for them next season.

An emerging subculture among fashion's luxury ranks, the Valentino fan girl favours sugary sweet shades, perfectly positioned hair braids and a glowing complexion. Evidently, she is also compelled by a classical Victorian dresses, worn accompanied by stomping biker boots, and cheered as such items were parked before her on the catwalk today.

Modesty was the buzzword as Piccioli, who parted ways with his former design partner Maria Grazia Chiuri last year, offered up high collar dresses with long sleeves and flowing overcoats for the Valentino woman - albeit one with youth on her side. Accordingly, this pretty yet puritanical vision was one in which a playful but also decidedly intelligent take on glamour prevailing throughout.

In the notes Piccioli rather complexly cited "fashion as a dialogue with time" as his inspiration for this collection but in its most simplistic form, this was a show concerned with pioneering a new aesthetic for a youthful breed of Valentino shopper.

Feminine and assertive too, the clothes served as the perfect juxtaposition with lilac overcoats and raspberry embroidered gowns worn alongside leather chockers and gladiator boots with cutaway panels.

Nodding to a woman's spirit of rebellion, goths met politically engaged protesters of the Sixties and Seventies in this show with flower power prints presented alongside Morticia black lace. Sugar sweet coats worn layered over fluid plisse dresses in contrasting shades served to further harness the idea that this was a collection based on contrasts.

Highlights were plentiful with patchwork coats inspired by the work of pop artist Nathalie du Pasquier and a intricately embroidered long sleeve raspberry gown worn with leather riding boots among the pieces most likely to find their way onto the feeds of Valentino super fans. But this collection was about more than hits with Piccioli seemingly determined to pioneer a new DNA for the label which is now in his sole charge.

Accordingly, accessories - the commercial building blocks of any fashion house - took on a new level of importance and served as a means through which Piccioli could further appeal to a new generation of customers. Miniature clutch bags which doubled as phone cases and card wallets which doubled as cross body satchels were among the most covetable items on offer.