Couture is typically the fashion week that pulls out all the stops — it's all about luxury, and often more really is more. This season, the much-anticipated Valentino Spring 2020 couture show is further evidence that maximalism is here to stay. Since taking the helm as sole creative director in 2016, Pierpaolo Piccioli has proven that he is a master at craftsmanship, color palettes, and shapes — all which have an even bigger impact when it's meticulously constructed by hand.
At Valentino’s Spring 2020 couture show on Jan. 23 in Paris, Piccioli’s maximalist collection was full of mixed prints, bold hues, and overall unconventional pairings. Think: cobalt blue sequined floor-length gowns paired with off-white opera gloves. Or, hooded evening gowns. There were also bodices decked out in ruffles and feathers extending around the models' faces.
It’s no wonder the collection took such a bold, in-your-face approach. For inspiration, Piccioli looked to the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung and his in-depth studies on the word “extrovert.” According to Jung, explain the show notes, "uniqueness is what makes all human beings identical."
Certainly, sheer capelet dresses and maxi polka dot gowns that are so voluminous they nearly touched the front row as they rushed by are not for the demure. In fact, these are specifically clothes that are designed for the attention-seeking in the best possibly way. Contrasting daring colors like red, pink, and purple makes for a commanding combination. The result: each ensemble is made up of the kind of pieces that would easily cause one to strike up a conversation; the ultimate statement in style.
While many of the gowns shown in the latest couture collection were incredibly formal, Piccioli once again proved he has a knack for making these kinds of pieces feel inherently modern. The addition of pockets on a few of the gowns creates an instant ease, and structured jackets and longer coats he designed to wear over a few of the evening dresses add a cool-girl touch.
So often couture designs seem entirely removed from the everyday lives of customers who might wear them, but Piccioli's attention to detail: Pockets and a little jacket feel more real-life and wearable than a strapless, bejeweled dress worn with nothing else but a pair of stilettos.
You already saw the little white ankle socks trend at this week’s Chanel couture show, but it seems that a similar youthful aesthetic is becoming a trend across this season’s couture shows. Valentino's oversized bows and cutesy ruffles on some of the gowns made each one feel a little bit more school girl-ish.
At a couture show, it’s always nice to see a designer who doesn’t hold back when it comes to creativity. The unconventional colors, unusual patterns and fun, maximalist silhouettes demonstrated that. Of course, it’s even better when a designer shows their creativity and makes it feel approachable for real life too, no matter how dramatic the (couture) fantasy is.