Some people don’t just fly, they soar. Pierpaolo Piccioli is one of them. His work at Valentino has reached such heady heights that the audience comes with the expectation of being transported to another, more sublime place. So fluently does he speak the language of beauty and so deftly does he wield its power, that people cried at his last haute couture show. Call it fashion histrionics if you like, but it’s made Valentino one of the most desirable luxury brands on the planet.
And so the SS19 show began with Kristen McMenamy in dramatic black taffeta, trailing a billowing train, then Mariacarla Boscono in a floor-length column with sprays of feathers at the hem followed by Anok Yai in a flounced trapeze-line mini, her flat sandals sprouting feathers at the heels. These imposing black moments gave way gradually to colour. First red for caped gowns and pleated gladiator dresses, then a frenzied fantasy of feathers beading and print, (the Valentino Atelier at its haute best). Along the way, there were heavenly tulle confections and drop-dead gorgeous black gowns. The show built to a stunning crescendo and ended with a standing ovation for Piccioli. All rise.
by Claudia Croft
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans