"Romanticism is strength" was the message at Valentino, telegraphed by a mesmerising collection that spoke simply of assertiveness achieved without aggression, grace as authority, and the freedom of individuality, subverting clichés and stereotypes. With '80s power-dressing proving a central mode throughout the season, designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, gave his answer through a celebration of femininity, his view that romantic does not equate to fragility, but rather an impassioned, emotional and individual approach to life.
Proving the Valentino woman is no shrinking violet – far from it – the designer demoed his proclivities towards a bold take on romanticism. Strong, flowing lines, vivacious oversized floral elements, cascading, petal-like fabrics, scalloped edges and a vibrant and intoxicating symphony of colour all emerged in full bloom, fresh from the Valentino hothouse. There was an underpinning of minimalism in the simplicity of form and stratifying of silhouettes, while all-out florals in giant appliqués, print, sequins and jacquard. Tailoring in popping shades and dramatic monochrome looks added embellishment and flair to the line-up.
With day as horizon, so said the show notes, evening was where the magic happened, with couture sensibilities given unexpected ready-to-wear twists. An array of options descended, from billowing high-neck scalloped or tunic dresses and cut-away, asymmetric dresses to millennial pink tiered gowns, off-the-shoulder or plunge-neck floral print gowns, while Kaia Gerber swept down the runway in an exquisite, sparkling bell-sleeve floral gown. Perfectly pitched and skewed to all generations, Piccioli delivered with deft execution and a renewed devotion to the art of romanticism and the modern-day women-warriors it inspires.