Valentino, back in Rome for his couture show

On the sidelines of the Parisian couture calendar, Pierpaolo Piccioli revealed in the monumental staircase of Piazza di Spagna, the emblematic site of the Eternal City, a collection of great beauty.

Beauty, Pierpaolo Piccioli has only this word in his mouth. And beauty, that was the Friday night in Piazza di Spagna, where the artistic director of Valentino presented his couture collection for the winter of 2022. A few days earlier, he greeted us in the Parisian salons of the Italian house, while he put the finishing touches on his silhouettes, while the small hands, knowledgeable seamstresses from his workshops, gave the final strokes of the needles to the dresses for a parade that was becoming masterful.

I have always believed that beauty was a strong messagehe explains as the models in front of him walk back and forth dressed in these latest creations. I’m not talking about aesthetic canon, physical injunctions, but about the humanity that shines through in the diversity of bodies, ages, genders and origins. In these difficult, sometimes intolerant times, especially in Italy, I believe that as a couturier I have a social responsibility. Fashion is necessarily political because it is a magnificent sounding board, because it has the power to send a message that can be heard. We are all beautiful as we are. This may sound like a pure truth. But that is nonetheless the truth.»

From left to right, Jill Kortleve, Aalato and Kristen McMenamy walk down the monumental steps of Piazza di Spagna to the Valentino winter 2022 couture show. Valentino

While the Italian had become accustomed to presenting his collections in Paris, including haute couture in January last year on a human scale, sublimating in his same private salons, in front of a few dozen journalists, clients and celebrities, fifty-five women of all ages, origins and body types , from Kristen McMenamy, 57, to Jill Kortleve, the “size 40 model” that the luxury industry is snapping up. A message is better understood if it is hammered home.

The couture must be felt, the spectator must feel its magic without too many explanations.

Pierpaolo Piccioli, artistic director of Valentino

Friday night, in the Eternal City, Kristen and Jill are there too. Sublime. The first, theatrical in a cloak of black tulle embroidered with white feathers and headgear of a leaf leader. The other, majestic in a dress draped in black velvet with puffed eggplant sleeves and flat heels. On the enchanting voice of the English singer Labrinth, already in charge of the soaring music of the hit series Euphoria, 102 beauties, women and men, ascend the monumental steps in the fading light and progress to Piazza Mignanelli towards the Valentino Palace and its workshops. At times, Ponentino, the light breeze typical of Rome, blows through the ruffled gauze blouses, silk-laille skirts, the train of coral chiffon dresses, adorned with a three-dimensional rose of organza and tulle. Each silhouette is imbued with poetry, femininity without clichés and mastery of colors (from the softest nude photos to the most sour greens) to which Piccioli has accustomed his audience.

Detail of Valentino winter 2022 couture collection Valentino

This collection is particularly close to my heart, the couturier continues. JI named it The Beginning because it talks about my beginning and those in this house, about the conversation I wanted to start with Mr. Valentino’s work.Rome, therefore, where it all began for Valentino Garavani (now 90 years old), who founded his label there in 1959. With Piazza di Spagna as a backdrop, precisely the place where he and other Italian designers (Gianni) between 1986 and 2003 Versace, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.) paraded Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and others at the conclusion of Alta Roma, Italian Couture Week. “These parades were open to the publiche says. I remember I was one of his children in the crowd. I wanted to give back to Rome, those moments of dreams and fashion that it once gave me. But without nostalgia, the spirit turned to the future.»

As a symbol, the show opens with a jacket of three-dimensional roses in ‘Valentino red’ taffeta. “Tribute to the mythical Fiesta tulle dress he created in 1959.And ends with a series of black and white looks that repeat Roman mosaics. “Nothing is very literal, ends Pierpaolo Piccioli. Over time, I learned to follow my instincts, not to burden myself with storytelling of any kind. I wanted to inject light, lightness and romance into my creations because I think that’s where modernity is. But I do not really like to explain my work. The couture must be felt, the spectator must feel its magic without too many explanations.»

Pierpaolo Piccioli and his seamstress workshop at the end of Valentino’s winter 2022 couture show. Valentino

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