In the Echelons of the Fashion World, There are few houses, if ANY, that are as extraordinarily unsurpassed in their Technique and Craftsmanship than the hands that are put to task at the behest and whim of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli at the House of Valentino. That extremeness of Technique and Minute detail that is sometimes overwhelmingly indulged by Piccioli and Chiuri sometimes weighs down their clothes with so much mesmerizing detail that the clothes do not necessarily suffer under their own weight of Extraordinariness, but they can become so "IMPORTANT" that the effect is almost Vertiginous.
That was the case for Spring 2014 where the relief of the less embellished pieces served to truly uncoil the tension that the more elaborate pieces can wind up with their Gasp-Inducing Facility and Brilliance. Are the Elaborate pieces Drop Dead Astounding...? Yes! Of Course, They Are! But that fact alone can wear into tedium if not tempered with prudence. The balancing act that the Valentino Design Duo must navigate each season becomes more and more laden with pitfalls and this season, as Luscious as some of their offerings were and as Skull Numbingly Majestic and Beautiful they may have been, they erred into the overdone. Somewhat. This still qualifies as one of the most Exquisite treatises of Fashion this season and may be one of the best of the whole Spring 2014 Cycle.
Showing one of the newest trends to emerge in the fashion Industry, The skewing towards larger edits of Exits, here Chez Valentino, Chiuri and Piccioli showed 72 Looks, and in this case... the edit could have been trimmed a hair. There was a Surprisingly Sensual play of Severity that balanced Sublimated Sex with an almost Penitent Reserve. Those long Black dresses that opened the show were so Strict and Dour that save their lavish Embellishment They could have been seen as monastic! But these flew in the face of the opening Exit, On the Darling Malaika Firth, A Mantle style Embroidered coat over a short matching dress was Richesse, but Kicky!
Talking about those embroideries... this season the Valentino Signature embellishments skewed in their style and colouration equally as Mexican, Arabic, Moorish, Egyptian or even Gaelic! Zodiacal signs and Armor connotations were richly abound as were Naive motifs that were Vaguely Scandinavian and Folkloric but could have been easily seen as Native American. It was a Mish-Mash on the most Ornate and Glorious Order. Starting out with such extreme decoration one would have thought Chiuri and Piccioli had shot their wad in the first 15 or so Exits... Well Allay those fears Instantly because the Variety and Multiplicity of their application of their craft was of a magnitude that words are clearly insufficient to convey!
A Simple Suede Shift at Exit No. 16 breathed much needed air into the collection and could work in any corner of the globe. A Butcher's Paper coloured Top and SUPER Wide Pants with a deep ruffle hem at Exit No. 25 was edgy for it's unexpectedness, while a Full-Length coat in a Blue and Natural Leopard print was paired with a Baby Blue tie-neck blouse and Wine coloured Short Shorts was Incredibly Fetching!
A Pair of Full-Length lace gowns in Peanut and Moss Green At Exit No. 45 and Exit No. 47 (The Best one, on The ethereal Grace Mahary!) were Generously Bestowed with Moorish influenced embroidery and were Singularly MASTERFUL! It was here that the collection began to lose some steam, a few passages here could have been left for the Showroom and the Section of Lace gowns in patchings of Black, Nude, Grape, and Mallard Green Lace were very unexciting, Yet the last two gowns were Exceptional Winners!
Valentino is a Go-To house for the absolute most rarefied of Haute Ready-To-Wear, Executed with Couture Technique that makes the Pret-A-Porter of the house at times indistinguishable from their Haute Couture, Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo struck a fine balance this season between what they have become known for and moving their label forward by treading new territory. This excursion, Spring 2014, was a sure reflection of their core principles of Taste and Style, but felt More Exploratory, More Bohemian and Random, And that gave so much of a Frisson that one felt as if they were sitting up straighter watching this, as if a new wind had blown through the Atelier. If that is the case, Leave all the Doors and Windows Open!