Valentino stops by Chateau de Chantilly Couture Show – WWD

„It’s a classic opera,” declared director Baz Luhrmann after Valentino’s haute couture show at the Chateau de Chantilly, the most eagerly anticipated event of Paris Couture Week.

Indeed, the evening had everything: a cinematic setting, high fashion and a star-studded audience.

After a two-hour bus ride in rush-hour traffic, guests emerged into the fairytale setting of a Renaissance castle surrounded by geometric gardens designed by André Le Notre. Models walked past a giant equestrian statue, down a sweeping outdoor staircase, and circled a fountain in their rainbow finery.

Florence Pugh, her hair in a pink buzz cut, wore a sheer pink chiffon for photographers to capture the golden evening light. Donatella Versace, pouring in a knee-length white bustier dress, stood to admire Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who took his bow surrounded by dozens of members of his ateliers, all dressed in white coats.

„I want to stand for values, that’s why I think it’s important to resign the idea of ​​the castle,” the designer said before the event, explaining that his aim was to remove its elite historical location. meanings and simply makes it a backdrop to celebrate „equality and freedom where rules matter.”

Make no mistake: this is fashion of a very rare order. Representing the pinnacle of the high fashion pyramid, bespoke creations can only be afforded by the truly privileged.

Still, Piccioli is determined to breathe new life into a tradition that can feel dangerously disconnected, especially at a time when France is reeling from nationwide riots fueled by the police killing of a teenager.

She went not with a princess gown with a 12-foot train, but with Kaia Gerber in a crisp white shirt and jeans — embroidered with thousands of tiny pearls in 80 shades to give the world’s most democratic dress an embellishment. Blue.

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She balanced the opulence of surface effects with minimal construction, with 3D metallic flowers on a powder blue coat paired with a chartreuse slip dress. The fabric was cut and wrapped around the body with a focus on necklines and thigh-high slits.

„I wanted to do a more spontaneous collection,” Piccioli explained at a preview at the Valentino salon on Place Vendôme. „I wanted to freeze those moments of lightness and movement in construction and easy, simple clothes.”

It was deceptively simple. A wine-colored velvet column dress was set off in Valentino red with a graphic hooded cape, while Mariacarla Boscono’s plain electric blue evening gown was topped with a sweeping cape in a layer of silver sequins.

Some of the gowns were nothing short of regal: a tent dress in a graphic ermine motif sprouted trimmed black feathers, while a gold bouclé coat worn by one of several male models was fit for a king. Piccioli relishes what he calls „impossible challenges,” such as individually plucking white feathers tied into 160 meters of white organza ruffles, making them light as air.

As unattainable as it may seem, he has moved the brand away from the „lifestyles of the rich and famous” image fostered by its founder Valentino Garvani, with gender-fluid collections that celebrate the society’s ideal.

That’s why despite the current turn of events, he never considered canceling the show.

„I like that there is a kind of awareness of what is happening in France, that people are fighting and protesting against what is not right, but even for all those who have worked in the atelier for months, it is important to continue doing our work.” He explained.

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„What I’m doing, of course, is witnessing my time through fashion,” he continued. „I want to bring humanity to this place.”

As his smiling team received a standing ovation from the crowd, it was clear that the invisible hands behind this dream production were the real stars of the show.

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