Pierpaolo Piccioli served up a feast for the eyes at Valentino. Like a true master chef, he had all the right ingredients. The colours were delicious. Majestic capes and imposing taffeta and duchess satin gowns came in delectable shades of strawberry sherbet, watermelon and clementine. The designer gave us grandeur – how else to describe the voluminous silhouettes, which soared and swept swelled and poufed. Added drama came with the huge bouffant hair-dos courtesy of Guido Paulo. These were confident, imposing clothes but they were also jubilant and celebratory. One dazzling floor-sweeping cape, encrusted with Emerald City green pailletés, was called “Liza Minnelli.” The craft was jaw dropping. Valentino record the number of hours that go into making an outfit in the programme. The more hours accredited to a piece, (1120hrs of hand work hours went into the opening look) the more expensive it will be. Couture is a serous business and this collection dripped with sophistication but there was something else present. Perhaps it was the audacity of the silhouettes, height of the hair or the glorious sight of Adut Akech in a vast taffeta tangerine ballgown and matching floral head piece but this collection radiated joy. No wonder the audience rose to its feet in spontaneous applause as the designer took his bow. “I want to thank all the people that allowed me to dream this dream,” he said. But it’s us that should be thanking him on behalf of our visual cortex and the pleasure receptors in our brains. Backstage afterwards, atelier staff and well wishers danced, toasted and chanted his name.
by Claudia Croft