There are few things in fashion as breathtaking as Valentino’s richly embellished gowns, and this season Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli finally decided to give their menswear the full dose of the majestic treatment they master like monarchs.
The duo’s ‘couture’ tailoring has long been a menswear phenomenon, but while sartorialists go crazy for the kind of premium suiting they’ve trademarked, nothing says haute like super elaborate appliqué and embroidery. And in that way, Wednesday’s show in Paris was the closest Chiuri and Piccioli have come to interpreting their womenswear in menswear.
A French version of Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side set the tone for a collection drawing on the idea of outsiders and freethinking men, which was Chiuri and Piccioli’s code for the daintification currently taking place in menswear where pretty florals, animal motifs, and all that glitters are becoming the masculine standard. Like something out of a vintage flora and fauna book, delicate flower prints appeared on loungewear-like shirts and trousers while a pale blue suit and coat featured naïve drawings of people dancing.
But as the show progressed, Chiuri and Piccioli got to excel in the magic they practise so well. A coat covered in animals and fabulous monsters looked like something an eighteenth century prince could have worn on his silk waistcoat, and a moss green suede jacket traced with studs was embroidered with flower vines. Even the new-era Valentino signature camouflage print had a regal air about it, making an appearance in a casual suit with a matching shirt. If free thinking means you surrender yourself to sensory overload, Chiuri and Piccioli should never stop their stream of consciousness.