As it so happens, The Valentino Fall 2015 collection feels oddly overwrought and full of extraneous threads that don't coherently weave together into an altogether pleasing whole. In the past, the Abundance that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have sauntered down the runway had been a giddy balm to some of the more monastically restrained character of many other shows during the season, Yet, in their eagerness to show just how prolific their output can be, the Diversity has led to a overwhelming feeling of diffuse. Couple this with their just oft times outright Outlandish taste in the eccentric and you have a collection that while many the time is SO Achingly Exquisite it's tear-jerking, but usually, just head scratchingly oddball!
Fall 2015, again fell into this trap. On the one hand, while it concentrated mainly on White and Black (to it's betterment) even that was eye-poppingly distracting in clashes of optical prints that while visually engaging, they did mostly in fact, make the viewer Queasy from the Retinal Hyper-stimulation. The thing that mostly could be levied at the designers is a DESPERATE need of editing and simplification. While both of those points were terrifically addressed at times, the simplifying here took a turn to the, How shall one say, Homely. Much of the garments sent out in this Spectator colour palette was Divine, You can NEVER go wrong with Black and White, but some of the design choices skewed more towards the Vestal.
Now, When the "Busy" Bug bit Chiuri and Piccioli... Oh, it bit hard! The duo cannot seem to get away from this Penitent/Sexy combo of High Necks/Long Sleeves-Sheer Fabrics Elaborate detailing theme that has defined their success and been the hallmark of their tenure at Valentino, but it's wearing thinner as the days weigh on. Especially considering the questionable taste level that is exercised in some truly puzzling choices of colour and decoration! Maybe it was the inspirations for the collection, Emile Floge and Celia Birtwell. Muses to Gustav Klimt and Ossie Clark, which if one truly envisages that mashup, the two (Klimt and Clark) have a strange relevance to one another, artistically. Both had a love of Visual Abundance and bohemian freedom in their work, Klimt's was more controlled while Clark's was more Enthusiastic, but the Through-Line was there.
How this translated in Chiuri and Piccioli's hands is where the narrative slipped, When the duo did their take on the YSL "Belle Du Jour" in Gentle scarf neck blouses paired with Sleek trousers or when they translated a Dragon Motif (Designed for them by Birtwell herself) into a delicately vaguely Orientalist Embroirdery on a Sublime sheer Point d'Esprit, Lace and Mousseline gown, they made Magic. Contrast that against a horrifyingly Headache inducing print in Bright Fuschia and Blue on a Black Ground or that optic Crazy Quilt pattern with Splotches of fur that came down as a coat and most Stupefying, as a GOWN later in the proceedings, Insanity! One more thing... Whom advised the two that Burgundy and Olive Green Lace go together? Those dumbfounding colour combinations in a section of interspliced lace gowns sank like lead weights and threatened to take the entire collection with them.
Not all was lost in this collection, but Chiuri and Piccioli let their whimsy and taste for the Quirky get much of the best of them here... In one Regard, the collection was ascetic to the point of being Puritanical, on the other, we had nipples and undies and Folkloric prints and embroideries abound! It gave more than one nod to the Bi-polar, and it also sadly stalled the collection from being the success it might have had the possibility of being. As much as the collection had going for it, there was FAR too much not working in it's favor to call this one anything less than a Grand Scale Miss!