On the third day of the Fall 2023 couture show season, Valentino took guests on a fairytale-like journey to a chateau in Chantilly, France. At a time when destination runways are the norm, the brand has taken couture sensibilities and fused them with an epic ensemble to fulfill a total fashion fantasy on an otherwise typical Wednesday night.
The show opened with an example of everyday tailoring – a trend we’ve seen throughout the fall collections – manifested in baggy trousers, a white button-down blouse unbuttoned to the waist and shoes gold plates worn with ease. The presentation also included mixed models, which are increasingly becoming the new standard in the world of high fashion. This was followed by little white mini dresses with feather headpieces (which the model held while walking), navy blue capes with silky ivory lining and a white modified kaftan with an asymmetrical hem. True to form, it was an elevated summer wardrobe put on a pedestal by the intrinsic high standard of tailoring.
Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is known for his keen attention to color, and this collection did not disappoint in that regard. There were cobalt blue jackets, an oversized red suit with mirrored appliqués, lilac and lavender ruffled crumpet dresses, and a burst of periwinkle blue with metallic gold rays embroidered throughout. More gold threads and golden headpieces light up the collection, contrasting with the vibrant pastels of the garments.
Besides rainbows of color, Piccioli introduced another topic to consider: maximalist accessorizing, which felt invigorating after seasons of more minimalist collections. Here we saw a bit of old-school chic, with capes and earrings dangling from the shoulders, even gold embroidery that looked like belts on recycled jeans. Twisted sunglasses and intentionally tall glamorous frizzy hair screamed personality first. Yet practicality was present – through pocketed dresses – and even beige looks weren’t boring against the fairytale sunset beyond the castle.
As the models gracefully descended the stone steps of the castle (mostly in apartments this time), the collection culminated in maximum glamour: icy white sequins, a plush marabou stole, a floral dress with sequins and applique roses, and a silver metallic look. in so many textures, it was hard to count. The collection was enough to win back Valentino as a couture fantasy maker. After all, gold tinsel coats, ruched brick-red dresses with cut-out hips, and bubble dresses with feathers are enough to take you to another realm – to make you dream, if only for a moment.