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Show Report

Show Report: Valentino A/W 16 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 21 January 2016

Lou Stoppard reports on the Valentino A/W 16 show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Valentino A/W 16 show.

Every luxury house worth its salt references travel. Today’s luxury shopper is a global man, moving from time zone to time zone, country to country, climate to climate. They say that right now the greatest luxury is experience. Consumers are seeing through pure product - that’s why, increasingly, retailers offer shoppers more - magazines, pop-up exhibitions, front-row seats at their shows (if you spend enough). People are willing to pay for something memorable. With all this in mind, Valentino’s A/W 16 show was a lesson in modern luxury. It referenced a life well lived - subcultures, journeys, literature, jaunts. They’d even quoted Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild in their show notes; ‘The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experience.’ Heavy embellishments and all black looks suggested punks or pearly kings and queens. Prints and patterns nodded to exotic travels. Tie-dyes inferred a wholesome, rural existence. Navaho blankets may ruffle some feathers, particularly in the wake of the cornrows from Valentino’s S/S 16 womenswear show and the subsequent cries of cultural appropriation and insensitivity, but, in their own way, they backed up the sense of a man building a wardrobe based on diverse experiences and passions.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli talked of ‘individuals on a quest of self-discovery’ - that’s also very now. The ‘self’ has never been so in fashion. Just look on Instagram and you’ll be inundated with self-help, from yoga tips to healthy eating advice, via avocado brunch snaps, and affirming, ‘feel good’ quotes.

If you needed a sign that the duo were playing on our collective memory - seducing us not just with great clothes but tapping into the highs and shared experiences we all love to remember - then the soundtrack was proof enough. Versions of Joy Division’s Love With Tear Us Apart and The Smith’s There is a Light that Never Goes Out filled the show space - songs that, for many, instantly conjure images of firsts, moments of pain, rights of passage and life-changing nights of jubilance. This show was about recollections, self-examination and identity, and nothing prompts one into feeling reflective than Ian Curtis or Morrissey.

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Lou Stoppard reports on the Valentino S/S 16 menswear show.