Wow. Just wow. If you thought Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino was jaw-dropping last season, just see this spectacular collection. As the operatic notes of Madame Butterfly rang through the halls of Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, everyone got the feeling that they were about to witness something special. The excitement in the air was abuzz, we all so clearly had last season's success at the forefront of our minds; you could feel editors inching further on their seats, like children waiting for the school bell to ring at the end of the day.
Huge bouffant hair pieces by Guido Palau on select models were like something out of Hairspray or ancient Rome. 'The higher the hair the closer to God,' said a peer amongst the throng and indeed what followed was heavenly. Rich, draping satins swooshed along the floor in shades of soft pinks and ochre yellows, dignified capes and puffed neckline gave an air of regality. There was a delicate simplicity to some looks with high-necks, crisp cut sleeve or ornamental folds, but a simplicity that felt fresh and incredibly refined.
Flowers such as orchids and lilies were arranged in beautiful ornamental headpieces, and paired with gowns in block Duchesse satins of fuchsia or emerald. There were laser-cut leathers, glittered polo-necks, sheer organza, decadent cascades of organza and feather, intarsia inspired by the Greek myth of Apollon et Daphné. It sounds like it should be an overdose of stylings but it was completely harmonious, completely divine. A truly modern couture if ever there was one. The gowns, the scenery, the music - one wanted to be taken to the ball, to be whisked away in Valentino, to win an Oscar. It was breathtaking and emotional. As the finale walked, Mr. Valentino himself instigated a standing ovation, with most a little teary at the sheer magnitude and respectful modernity of what Piccioli had created.
The story of Apollon et Daphné is one of lust and love gone awry, with Apollo’s unrelenting, unrequited love ending in Daphne’s metamorphose into an evergreen laurel tree. The same is true in reality; most budgets aren’t big enough to have a couture Valentino gown as beautiful as these, we’re all Apollos in this scenario. Endlessly in love. Piccioli is our Daphne, evergreen and immortal, forever providing us with beauty.