Valentino’s Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli reimagines Irving Penn’s 1974 celebration of cultural diversity, ‘Worlds in a Small Room’, as his new Utopia. “It’s not about a geographical situation but about humans – and haute couture is a lot about the human too,” Piccioli proposes. Piccioli named each of his 71 looks after the men and women who brought them to reality in his atelier.
He stressed that, “Even the most expensive fabrics are just bits of cloth. They can’t be compared with the human endeavour.” Highlighting his point, the show notes it took 2,010 hours of human-handwork to create one dress.
There is a strong sense of Penn’s fantasy/reality spectrum in Picciloi’s new collection: capes of imaginary landscapes gorgeously collaged from velvet, taffeta and lamé shared the runway with the relative restraint of a pink cashmere coat over citron wool pants. Lauren Hutton, icon of 1970s Americana, modelled a parka and a simple shift tied at the waist. Adut Akech, the Sudanese-born model who is the new face of Valentino, closed the show swathed in a massive cloud of purple organza. Radically different worlds, but united by Piccioli. His notes referred to “the opulence of diversity.” His show brought that idea to extraordinarily vivid life.