Valentino Haute Couture SS23 Show
Jodi Clarke follows Pierpaolo Piccioli's artistic journey into cosmopolitan nightlife
For another year the renowned, romanticised art of couture took centre stage in Paris, and the crowds gathered from all over the world for the spectacular Valentino Haute Couture Show SS23 show. Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli staged his show in a nightclub under the Pont Alexandre, for which guests had to enter wearing exclusive wristbands printed with ‘Valentino Le Club Couture’.
Questions could have been raised about the choice of such a venue as a couture setting, but for Piccioli the goal was to democratise the dream. His collection represented the always-worthy debate between couture and art and nightlife and culture. We saw extravagant ruffles, extraordinary silhouettes, and piercing colours set against a deep black background. The designer’s much-loved Pink PP became an obvious running theme on gowns, coats and boots.
Piccioli’s rejuvenation of the famed Italian House has realised an aesthetic that is not just seen but also felt by a younger more rebellious audience for whom hot pants and mini-skirts will never be too daring. The references for the collection came from images shot inside famous nightclubs like Studio 54 and the Blitz Club. So, drama on the dance floor was always going to be the subtext to the night.
The collection breathed spontaneous energy into the established lexicons between body language, couture and nightlife. Notions of performance and transformation emanated from the models as they walked. Exploring how clothes can be used as a tool to define one’s true inner self, silhouette’s and fabrics were shaped and manipulated to express “uniqueness, personality, identity and character,” as Piccioli put it.
The designer channelled a new boldness through a myriad of intense, vivid colours and stark graphic patterns. Volume was added to the sleek lines in the form of pretty oversized ruffled puffball skirts and extravagant floral cape coats. Large and boxy suiting for men – sometimes worn with short shorts, sometimes with trousers – brought fresh new thinking to the couture catwalk.
Embroideries, hand-drapes, pale pink feathers knotted with black satin bows and contemporary platform court shoes were just some of the blown-up details that embellished the story. The glamour was totally undeniable and the call to a new generation was irresistibly compelling.
To read our review of the Giorgio Armani Privé SS23 show, click here
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