valentino finds self-discovery in nature
Set to Frank Ocean's beautiful "Moon River", Pierpaolo Piccioli’s SS20 collection finds heads into the jungle to find inspiration through withdrawal.
Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino has become known for its exuberant colours and craftsmanship — a riot of feathers, embellishment, and huge volumes (see also: hats). For spring, the Italian designer set that aside for a minute to focus on his incredible silhouettes, starting the show with 12 looks of the purest white, adorned only with simple gold chains, and for some of the models, graphic, seemingly Egyptian-inspired eye makeup, also in gold. When makeup mother Pat McGrath rests, we do not know, and for that we are thankful. Paired with simple sandals that tied around the ankle, the dresses, which ranged from shirts to great big poufs, were a perfectly minimal vision for spring.
Having said that, obviously Pierpaolo couldn’t restrain himself for long. Colour, when it came, was in eye searing neons, on vast wafting gowns that filled your vision as they ran down the slender runway. Actually, neon green, which after the parade of white felt very jolting. Valentino is a house of gorgeous dresses, and these looked entirely fresh, whether floor length or short with great big 80s sleeves. They served as punctuation before the designer unleashed his jungle-prints, because graphic flora and fauna seem to be an obsession of his, and which saw animals and palm trees wrap around sinuous column dresses. A particularly gorgeous moment saw a panther hiding in the trees around the hem of a gown, against a backdrop of pink sequins. Somehow, dear reader, this looked casual, especially when paired with one big earring that had some kind of chilled looking golden animal lounging on it.
Pierpaolo’s notes said that this season was about self discovery through withdrawal, and thus he seemed to find renewed inspiration in the shapes, colors and prints he loves (after a few seasons of fabulous collabs, whether it be with poets or Undercover designer Jun Takahashi). As Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” played, you were reminded of the great joy and sense of exploration the designer has brought to the venerable house. His aim was the make the “ordinary extraordinary,” but nothing about Pierpaolo’s beautiful world is ordinary — if stripped away of distractions, his ideas about how we should dress were more extraordinary than ever.
Photography Mitchell Sams
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.