Classic with a twist. 'Francis Bacon, with a glitch' - to quote from the Valentino show notes. For his debut men's collection as the sole designer heading up Valentino now Maria Grazia Chiuri has departed for Dior, Pierpaolo Piccioli loosened things up a bit. Or maybe messed things up would he a better way of putting it (hence the glitch reference). He took the signatures of Valentino menswear and made them a touch more rough, a touch more youthful. The classics were there - the fine outerwear with jazzy surface details - but subverted. Quite literally, this was like an expected Valentino collection had been finalised and finished, then handed over to a fresh pair of eyes to be slightly disrupted. That new eye came in the form of punk legend Jamie Reid. One can only imagine what Joe Corré, the son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren - who just made headlines for burning his multi million pound punk archive - would have made of the Sex Pistol aesthetics making their way onto a Paris Fashion Week runway right now. When explaining his burn party, Corré stated, 'Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need.' Amusing, given what was on show today. But, to Piccioli, 'need' is irrelevant. After all, Valentino trades on luxuries not essentials. And he had his own retort. 'Beauty is a birthright' read many of the jumpers and jackets.
Slogans are big news in fashion today - especially ones that are vaguely political, vaguely pithy, but largely meaningless - case in point was the Balenciaga show a few hours before Valentino. 'It seemed to be the end until the next beginning', read another of the Piccioli’s. A new beginning it is. Few would have claimed that Chiuri’s departure signalled the end for the ever booming Valentino, but, if this collection is anything to go by, Piccioli’s certainly keen to stake his place and play provocateur.