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Pierpaolo Piccioli took his rarefied Valentino designs to the streets for his latest Paris fashion extravaganza. The designer took over the whole block around the show venue – cafés, hairdressers, the lot – and invited regular folk as well as the fashion elite. Piccioli has always embraced openness but post-pandemic, his desire is to share the beauty of Valentino with as many people as possible.

It was had to say who had the best view. International editors sat at café tables in an old market hall venue and everyone else, crowded into the bars and restaurants lining the street outside. Mostly young, and clearly pop excited to be there, they represent the new customers that Valentino wants to reach. The collection skewed towards youth, with short tunic dresses and plenty of modern wardrobe staples like baggy jeans and stompy boots. There were playful silk boxer shorts for boys and girls and plenty of the vivid, joyful colours that Piccioli is known for. Models of every gender walked down the street in his finery.

Valentino is known for its stately gowns, but the after-dark scene here was all about vibrant party pieces (sequinned, one-shouldered or with geometric cut aways) that were made for dancing in. How very democratic – but the codes of couture for this designer revolve around human endeavour, creativity and beauty. Valentino is all heart.

Photography courtesy of Valentino.