With the recent departure of Maria Grazia Chiuri - now in residence at Christian Dior - this was Pierpaolo Piccioli's solo debut for Valentino. Having worked as one half of a design duo for seven years, it's interesting to see which elements will stay and which will go.
With designers such as Alber Albaz, Olivier Theyskens and Grazia Chiuri herself, sat in the front row, Piccioli was by no means alone. His creative community was there to support him.
One was immediately struck by how solid his debut offering was. Not only more opaque, but more robust. The more saccharine elements, of tulle and a certain kind of fantasy, was grounded in a more self assured place. The casting felt more confident too. The designer talked about representing women 'as individuals, not characters.'
Following on from Valentino’s newfound commitment to saturated colour - partly inspired by the Renaissance - the collection gave birth to a collaboration with the queen of pink: Zandra Rhodes. A rather surprising but nonetheless reputable partnership, the result was a series of evening dresses, which they designed together. It was a unique move bringing in an arts school type seventies designer, so iconically imbued with a certain era and aesthetic. This collection spoke of a commitment to a point of view, and Rhodes’s refusal to budge from her own particular eye for things. Fashion moves on so quickly that next season the vision may look like something else. However, in this somewhat transitory season, it lent the house a feeling of permanence - like it was laying down roots. More eccentric and resolute than before, Piccioli spoke about 'the poetry of colour, even if it becomes acidic and pungent.' A very modern statement - and completely apparent here today - the designer said he wanted to 'go on a quest to find the precious, without the preciousness.'