A brand’s Instagram account is often the ideal place to drum up excitement for an upcoming runway show. Valentino certainly tapped into this by having Zendaya model a few of its new pieces from next season’s collection a day before the show started. Once Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2022 runway collection was fully unveiled, you may have spotted several of these familiar pieces on the catwalk. The show’s opening look, worn by Zendaya in a ‘gram, featured a flower-embroidered blouse and mini skirt, referencing Valentino Garavani’s all-white collection of 1968.
This ensemble was one of five replica looks Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli recreated from the Italian fashion house’s archives. (The others — if you’re a Valentino history buff — included an animal print coat, which Zendaya also had modeled, and a pair of high-waisted blue jeans, which were a nod to the first denim collection Valentino launched in the ’80s.) Piccioli felt inspired by the house’s past creations and wished to merge those bygone designs with the future of Valentino’s dress codes.
“I don’t want to miss the values of the house, but I definitely want to embrace a new world, and live the change,” he said to British Vogue. “As a designer, I think it’s important to live the change and not just talk about ruffles. When you see humans on the runway wearing beautiful pieces, but worn in a different way, it’s exciting.”
As part of this different way to experience fashion, Piccioli staged his presentation inside an old marketplace called Le Carreau du Temple. The runway then excitingly spilled out onto the streets as showgoers watched from their seats outside neighboring cafes. As one model after another was sent down the catwalk, you’ll notice that the show incorporated an all-gender cast, effectively blurring the lines between what a “man” or a “woman” should wear. A silky eggplant-colored, plunging neckline shirt, the oversize capes, or matching pantsuit set could therefore be donned by individuals from both sets, and beyond.
Though there were many Easter eggs that touched on the legacy of Valentino, Piccioli made sure to inform showgoers that future Valentino is bright, fun, and sexy. He sent out this message via a host of bewitching and alluring dresses: a hot pink mini with side cutouts, sequined dresses with flirty hemlines, micro skirts, and a Kelly green mini with off-the-shoulder straps. Piccioli surely knows his customers are fine-tuning their re-emergence outfits, with sensual dressing at the top of mind.
“This season, I really want to breathe life into the brand,” Piccioli told British Vogue. “We spent almost two years isolated and what I really want now is all about emotions, connections, people: life. And even imperfection of life, because I think — as a designer delivering an idea of beauty — beauty means humanity, which means imperfection.”
For Piccioli, this idea of a revitalized way to dressing also included color — lots of color — in the form of interesting combinations like deep purple mixed with brown or an azure blue feathered top styled with parakeet-green shorts. For those who prefer to stay within the neutral realm, there were plenty of options there, too — like a delicate sheer, lace shirt paired with baggy jeans styled under a semi-translucent trench, or a black one-shoulder flowing maxi dress.
Lest you should forget that the house of Valentino also offers shoes, bags, and jewelry, almost every model wore an eye-catching accessory. The label’s iconic handbags like the Rockstud Spike came in the same eggplant-purple shade as the garments while glittering chainlink chokers wrapped around the models’ necks. If you wished for a pair of versatile sneakers, Valentino studded slides, or resort-appropriate gladiator sandals — the spring ‘22 collection offered all that as well. Piccioli said he wanted to breathe life into next season’s collection, and he so aptly achieved his goal through the spring lineup.
See a few of the standout ensembles, below. Then, start building out your list of must-have items from the new collection.