During his much-lauded tenure as sole creative director of Valentino, Pierpaolo Picciolo’s collections have largely leaned toward the evening. His couture gowns are nothing short of legendary, his ability to craft a feather-embellished or laser-cut mini dress unparalleled. But among all the chatter surrounding his eveningwear the quieter, more casual side of Piccioli’s repertoire can go under-appreciated. Last night in Paris, however, you couldn’t miss it. Presenting Spring/Summer 2022 at the Carreau du Temple, Piccioli’s latest offering leaned heavily on the staples of daywear: floaty shirts, low-slung denim, comfortable sandals and little shift dresses.
It was, of course, daywear with a decidedly couture sensibility. The slouchy ivory suits were cut exquisitely and finished in a silk-cotton blend, jeans were rendered in the perfect shade of indigo and paired with chocolate brown cashmere capes, silky ‘pyjama’-style separates were finished with feather-trimmed sleeves. The dresses were short and flirty, but crafted with soft French lace or hand-embellished with sequins, and paired with gladiator sandals that laced up to the knee (could we be on the precipice of a late-Noughties throwback?). Color-blocked silk looks that paired rust-colored shorts with banana yellow shirts and purple blazers made a convincing case for wearing bermudas to work.
The palette was vibrant across the board, but a single hue stood out: the color purple. The same shade of violet appeared on sheer Grecian gowns, laser-cut menswear sets, tent-style statement blouses, and tailored blazers, as well as on updates of key Valentino handbag shapes. It was Valentino’s first Paris Fashion Week show in 18 months, and it represented a clear pivot toward a younger, more casual generation. Members of the public—most of them Gen-Z—were invited to see the show backstage before the show began in a welcome sign of democratization. “It has been such such a tough moment. That’s why I decided to get Valentino into a new dimension: life,” Picciolo said backstage. Who can argue with that?