valentino wears its heart on its sleeve
Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborates with four poets for autumn/winter 19 to celebrate love.
Pierpaolo Piccioli’s shows for Valentino have often been described as figurative poetry. His latest show was literal poetry, as the Italian designer collaborated with four poets: Greta Bellamacina, Mustafa the Poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward and Robert Montgomery, whose words were emblazoned in bright lights at the show. “The people you love become ghosts inside you and like this you keep them alive,” read one, from Robert Montgomery. That could be interpreted as a few things -- the spirit of Valentino Garavani, the house’s founder, or the handiwork of the Roman seamstresses who often star on Piccioli’s Instagram feed, for instance -- but mainly it was about the warm universal feel of love itself.
“It’s about the power of emotions,” said Piccioli. “We don’t want to be dreamless.” He put his focus on a collective called The Movement for the Emancipation of Poetry (MEP) that is devoted to anonymously pasting posters of poetry on streets of cities around the world. “I was thinking about poetry and romance and I think it can be a reality,” he explained. “I wanted to create a community of poets with a very positive vibe.”
A small book, Valentino on Love, was filled with the poems of those aforementioned collaborators and laid on the seat of every guest. In the collection itself, the occasional line of poetry was embroidered onto garments or stitched into the linings of the logo-laden box bags. Romance was also worn on the sleeve, courtesy of bold graphics of marble neoclassical kissing statues, Valentino-red roses and butterflies. A continuation of a collaboration with Jun Takahashi of Undercover that began in January with the Valentino menswear and resort collection, and a nice way to develop a cross-cultural relationship for longer than the average flash in the pan fashion collab.
Elsewhere, there were bucket hats in couture proportions, one of which was entirely made of black lace, as well as stellar simple dresses in voluminous trapeze shapes that were elegantly pared-back. The show closed with a flight of feather-light chiffon dresses gowns, romantic in the fashion semantics. And the models formed a backdrop below Robert Montgomery’s words. It was the kind of moment that could make even the most lovelorn cynic feel that slightly fuzzy feeling of joy.