A refreshingly diverse cast hit the runway at Valentino SS22 Couture Collection

·3-min read
 (Imaxtree)
(Imaxtree)

The world of couture prides itself on being unattainable. Unattainable in terms of its elitist price tags which mean fewer than 0.001 per cent of society can afford to buy and wear the clothes, but also, unfortunately, unattainable thanks to its representation in terms of size, age and race. While other fashion weeks are making big efforts to improve both their sustainable credentials and diversity and inclusion on the runways, the Federation de la Haute Couture de la Mode – founded in Paris in 1868 – has some way to go.

Today though, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli put on a runway show that took a small, satin pump-clad step in the right direction, and will hopefully encourage other couture labels to open their doors a little wider. Featuring a cast of models that included a wider breadth of body shapes than we’ve come to expect from couture week, a mix of races and genders, as well as a few sexagenarian models, the Valentino show was a better reflection not just of society but also, crucially for the brand, its couture consumer.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Piccioli was, according to the notes, “driven by the urgency of rethinking the rituals and processes of Couture in order to create a canon that reflects the richness and diversity of the contemporary world and promoting an idea of beauty that is not absolute.”

The Anatomy of Couture collection therefore centered on the notion that a woman’s body is not only a physical reality but a social construct – subject to the varying pressures of trends and fetishisation (boobs are in! Boobs are out!). Piccioli focused on the human form as starting point for each piece, with silhouettes hugging to, detaching from and celebrating it throughout.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A sequin gold maxi skirt clung at the hips then kicked out into a dramatic fishtail; feathered gowns had necklines deep enough to make tit tape mandatory; white go-go boots with flesh-flashing circle cut-outs reached so far over-the-knee that they disappeared under mini skirts.

Flashes of flesh came via diaphanous organza drop-waist gowns with cut-out sides, thigh splits and transparent ruching, while micro minis paired with stockings allowed for periodic glimpses of upper thigh.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The collection majored in the Stabilo-hued A-line mega gowns for which Piccioli’s Valentino Couture has become known, but alongside the dramatic dresses the Italian designer also offered his couture clients plenty to wear off the red carpet. A semi-transparent loose-fit sequinned shirt and trouser set and a champagne sequin suit both looked dinner party-ready, and a slouchy cream cashmere coat worn with tonal wide-leg tailored trousers and trainers had chic weekend-wear written all over it.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Piccioli fans will appreciate the colour palette, packed with some of the designer’s signature shades: a bold fuchsia (which, in a silk shirt looked excellent paired with a chartreuse cape), a creamy ivory white, a warm chocolaty brown, an electric green and, of course, Valentino red. The drama for which the brand’s couture clientele keeps coming back was present in ostrich feather fuchsia dresses, opera gloves, and kimono-style jackets with three-dimensional floral embellishment.

This season’s Valentino couture really did have something for everyone. Whether or not you can afford it is another matter.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting