Valentino Takes Couture Fashion Week to New Heights

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Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli took Couture Fashion Week to the highest echelons of fantasy with the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2020 collection, titled Of Grace and Light. The presentation was shot in the renowned Cinecittà Studios in Rome as both a digital and physical showing with an intimate local audience in attendance.

The live streamed digital experience brings the viewer into Piccioli’s imaginative world, as if they’re not watching a socially distanced runway show, but a real film filled with fantasy and raw emotion. The mini film begins with vacant scenes of Rome and eases into an intentionally glitchy showing directed by photographer Nick Knight. The white gowns double as blank canvases for the film as colorful floral images are projected onto them. The exaggerated and dream-like proportions evoke an optical illusion as the models appear to be suspended in the air while their lengthened hems reach down to the ground below.


Piccioli created luminous figures out of the darkness of lockdown and international turmoil, essentially finding light at the end of the tunnel. Fighting limitations brought about due to the pandemic, the designer bobbed and weaved through socially distanced crafting in the atelier to create the 16-look spectacle, while maintaining the safety of Valentino’s artisans.

The blinding purity of bright white and soft ivory against the pitch black setting bordered on an almost religious experience, while simultaneously paying homage to Valentino Garavani himself. The founder’s 1968 couture collection embodied the same all-white palette, although the styles and silhouettes are of different universes, as Piccoli touches upon influences from directors Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, and Robert Z. Leonard’s The Great Ziegfeld. The collection encompasses ethereal, angelic figures floating through the night sky. The opulent and billowing layers of tulle, crêpe, silk, and feathers are only made more magical with ivory flower crowns and sequined capes “while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

The transfixing and fantastical presentation keeps the allure of Haute Couture intact while the fashion world awaits the opportunity to witness Piccioli’s works in person once again.

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