A Mannerist Valentino
Text Cesare Cunaccia
It is like a statement: stop with the cool at all costs, let’s get back to the chic. Vissi d’arte, the most famous aria of the Puccini’s Tosca is repeated as a fragmented refrain in the halls of the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. This collection by Pierpaolo Piccioli outlines a meditation on the theme of high fashion. A free compendium of the most orthodox codes. A redefinition of vibrations ranging from the hieratic and geometric vocation of don Cristóbal and from plastic textile structures of Monsieur Yves, to the flexible Zen metamorphoses of Issey. Mighty and airy volumes, dematerialised forms built of impregnable colours. Those of the Florentine Mannerist Jacopo Pontormo, bizarrely called Andrea in the pamphlet of the runway show (!). A distilled palette, stolen from the Deposition so beloved by Pasolini, inspired by the Visitation in Carmignano, laboratory of anti-naturalistic and pictorial colours, up to alchemy. The game also touched on Barragan’s architecture-colour and the patrician styling of Charles James. It revisited – perhaps – the metaphysical chromatic combinations and triads of Madame Grés, underlined by baroque impulses. Floral macro-imprints and ruffles like waves. Peridot and Veronese green. Champagne, black, scarlet, imperceptible pink and fuchsia nuances. A geranium red and the Valentino one, mixed with ice and bronzine blue. Taffetas, organza, crêpe de Chine, lace, layers of tulle and moiré, weaves of inlays and maxi overlapping frills. «It’s time to restore glamour to fashion, to haute couture above all», Giancarlo Giammetti stated in the backstage. The moodboard was echoed by Audrey Hepburn, suffused in a silky origami with flimsy petals from the late 1960s, naturally designed by the Valentino atelier in Piazza Mignanelli. Couture even by day, with chinos and trenches of large proportions. Philip Treacy’s feather hats looked like dreamy, fringed jellyfishes, or imperial japonisant chrysanthemums, while the en-tête of the Giada oversized theatrical cape played with the fantastic. In the front row, Donatella Versace, Olivia Palermo, Adriana Abascal and Kate Hudson. Pauline and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Jacqueline de Ribes and Lisa Fonssangrives were not present at the show: they would have surely understood this sartorial allure exercise.