Mae West once said, "Too much of a Good Thing... Is Wonderful!" and oft times that can auger true, in the case of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the inverse is more apt. Their Valentino Resort 2016 collection was yet another example of the duo's penchant for, as they would say in Italian, "Abbondanza!" A veritable Smörgåsbørd of surfeit, and as much of the collection was typically. Dazzlingly Exquisite, it was also so much profusion of ideas and clothes that the message of the medium was lost and led to diffusion. A serious streamlining of the multiple ideas and redundancies would lead to a more coherent collection, as it stands, again I stress, 95% of it was Superbly Fantastic, but it was simply put, just too much of a Phantasmagoria. Not everyone is Karl Lagerfeld or Domenico and Stefano and can keep the narrative line plumb, through such a prodigious amount of outfits!
What was there that was Spectacular, was spectacular on a level that not even Lacroix might have envisaged. However, within saying that, the ubiquity of some of the themes that play out over and over again in a Valentino collection, have grown assuredly stale and frustrating and lack invention. The Penitent dresses with the high necks and long sleeves cut to the floor have become a parody of themselves and look about as fresh as Two-Day old Scrambled eggs! Same goes for the Virgin/Whore dresses with the nigh indecent Crotch-Grazing hemlines that say Sleazy with their length, but naïve with their Faux innocent necklines and Quasi-Juvenile prints and embroideries. Lastly, I am as much for Sheer Chiffon and net and Lace as the next person, more so in fact, but it's a crutch that is leaned on so heavily by Chiuri and Piccioli, that where one was at a point anesthetized to seeing it so much, it now has come full circle and is more factually, quite alarming. It borders on Vulgar, and more accurately, Tacky!
In the end, one could mention the newness of the Blue Folkloric print section that was a strong winning point in the collection or the more refined looks that had not one bit of sheerness to them, like the vaguely Japonesque Intarsia Mink coat with flying Crane motifs and tiny flowers (A Marvel, by the way) or the stunning Sanguine Red evening gown that was a Showstopper of epic proportions and made all those elaborate printed and embroidered evening frocks look gaudy and irrelevant. Lest, we leave on a negative note, be it known, what Chiuri and Piccioli do is of Extraordinary caliber, it has garnered a Huge cult of the most famous and recognizable of celebrity and fashion cognoscenti, in person, those elaborate assemblages of print and embroidery and whisper-light materials are Jaw-Dropping, and that should not be overlooked. The simple fact remains though, as spellbinding as all that work and elaboration may be, it has become expected and intrinsically rote by this time. Chiuri and Piccioli need to shake the Valentino tree a bit and see what falls out, it might surprise them and hopefully, the rest of us as well!
*As of this writing, it is well known that the duo have parted ways at Valentino with Chiuri heading off to Dior and Piccioli the sole designer of the house of Valentino. This is written in the spirit of the times before those announcements and moves*