PARIS, France – A sea of umbrellas descended upon Paris’ Les Invalides on Sunday evening, protecting attendees in bright Valentino jumpsuits, flowing dresses and feathered capes from Pierpaolo Piccioli’s last collection. The colourful front row, which included musician Janelle Monae and actress Zoey Deutch, however, was a stark contrast to the sombre all-black collection debuted on the runway moments later.

PARIS, FRANCE – March 1: A model walks the runway during the Valentino as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 on March 1, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)

Despite being known for his colour and volume since taking over as solo creative director in 2016 – from 2008 to 2016 he shared the title with Maria Grazia Chiuri, who now heads up Dior – Piccioli changed things up for fall 2020. Spurred on by “the desire to focus on the humanity of individuals,” Piccioli heroed uniform dressing as a way of allowing individuality and equality to shine through.

Show notes found on the seats explained, “Uniforms are perceived as items that erase individuality. On a closer insight, however, uniforms bring the individual to the fore.”

Until midway through the show, Piccioli’s uniform consisted of all black everything: sequin turtlenecks, leather scalloped dresses and the perfect pair of baggy pants, all of which were worn with chunky platform boots. The grunge inspiration didn’t stop there, either. Models – including some male, trans and plus size – had extreme cat-eyes with gothic-inspired winged liner, black nail polish and metallic accessories.

Around the midway mark, as Billie Eilish came on in contrast to the live orchestra which kicked off proceedings, colour was introduced with a palette cleanser of Valentino red – coats (leather, the major player of the season, of course included), dresses and sequins, before the show moved into beiges, floral embellishments and a pop of green.

House muse, Australia’s Adut Akech, closed the show in a vibrant red gown, before popping her head back around to cheer for Piccioli as he took his bow.

Moments later, it was a mad dash to the corner to get an umbrella – not the one you came with, just any will do – and off into the Parisian night we went, feeling vindicated about our choice of a blazer and pants. Because if Piccioli says uniform dressing is in vogue, who are we to argue?

PARIS, FRANCE – March 1: Fashion designer Pier Paolo Piccioli during the Valentino as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 on March 1, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)
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