Haute Couture: Valentino s/s 2013


Miraculous craftsmanship was seen on the last day of Paris Couture Week as Mario Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo of Valentino took the catwalk.

“We really wanted to create a dream, something really fantastic, magic, fairy tale. Couture is a dream, and we love to dream. Why not?” – I couldn’t agree more with Chiuri, describing the thoughts behind the collection.

The duo-designers were looking at the idea of formal and secret gardens (an ongoing theme throughout the couture collections this season, as seen from the likes of Chanel and Dior), with mazes, ancient mosaics and romantic flower paintings.

Another ongoing theme was the idea of the bird, which was clearly displayed right from the very first look, through caged gowns and lace.

As I looked through the stills of the collection, every single piece was different from the next, yet all had a sense of togetherness, bound by the garden themes and Picciolo’s take on the essence of the collection itself: “contained in labyrinths” – where nature meets architecture and science meets spiritual rebirth.

So this is how magic is seen in reality!

I mean the technicality and craftsmanship these ateliers put into the gowns is utterly amazing when you really think about it. According to the notes, the piping on just one of the dresses took 500 hours of hand-rolling to produce, and the breathtaking gowns seen later in the show were made up of over 450 metres of tulle — I think that just says it all.

The padded rouleaux (raised patterns on the surface of the fabric) were inspired to suggest the elaborate wrought iron gates hiding what was stored within – creating a sense of allure, mystery and femininity at the same time – portrayed perfectly by the models. This iron-work was seen constantly throughout the collection: black on tulle capes overtop of ball gowns and ivory on little dresses.

Keeping with Chiuri and Picciolo’s Victorian vision, the floral motifs often found in beautifully kept gardens were evident in the patterns of some of the most exquisite pieces (as seen above) and many different laces were re-embroidered to create a shimmering collage-like effect.

I absolutely loved the high Victorian necks and long-sleeves creating a feminine romance and the white pieces looked perfect – almost like icing atop a wedding cake. The silver threading and lattice ribbon-work on the final piece just literally left me in awe (as Valentino shows often do) and I could only imagine what it would have been like to see it in person.

Even Valentino himself, quite emotional I might add, rose to greet and congratulate Chiuri and Picciolo as they took to the catwalk for the finale. If this isn’t praise for such an awe-inspiring and romantic collection then I don’t know what is!

The multi-coloured flowers & butterflies and coloured organza adorning the pieces created a spectacular fairytail show to end the week, leaving everyone speechless.

Photos: GoRunway.com

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