Fashion / Fashion News

Chloe Leong’s Valentino L’École performance is an ode to feminine liberation

Chloe Leong and Valentino L'École partner for Sydney performance

If you were in the heart of Sydney last week, you may have happened upon an ethereal vision curated and choreographed by the inimitable Chloe Leong: five dancers, led by Leong, moving in synchronicity through graceful reposes, each wrapped in Valentino’s L’École Spring Summer 24 collection.

Presenting a series of pop-up performances in Sydney's Pitt Street Mall, the choreographed work, entitled Skin Deep, was put together by Leong and inspired by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest (and sadly, now final) L’École runway collection for the Italian luxury fashion house.



Leong, a Sydney-based artist, dancer and choreographer who began training at the age of six and is a past member of Sydney Dance Company, was tasked with distilling the essence of the House's collection – which highlights the body in a celebration of femininity, humanity and sensuality – into a stunning live performance. Of course, it was also an apt celebration of Pierpaolo Piccoli’s own 20-year legacy at the Maison – one that he only recently announced would be coming to a conclusion this year.

Set amid a cubic, minimalist installation that took inspiration from the original SS24 runway set at Milan Fashion Week, Leong and her dancers moved through the soft yet strong choreography of Skin Deep on both Thursday and Friday in the early afternoon; both performances an open invitation for Valentino's Sydney community to gather, as well as plenty of intrigued passers-by. As the crowd looked on in a hushed reverence, Leong and her dancers moved through their well-practiced postures; connecting and reawakening dialogue between the garments, and the women within.



At once echoing and reimagining the SS24 collection's themes and key messages, Leong's performance of Skin Deep "explores the vast and multi-dimensional inner landscape of the feminine" according to Valentino's performance notes, intending to liberate and bringing agency back to the female gaze through exploring the interrelationship between nudity and the female body.

Leong spoke with RUSSH about the performance, celebrating femininity and the intrinsic nature of movement.


Movement is something that is deeply intrinsic to Pierpaolo's vision. How have you formed a connection between this passion and commitment of his and the work you create as both a dancer and choreographer?

CL: It felt very natural to connect to Pierpaolo’s vision in fashion, with my vision in dance. Like in life, we are in a state of constant change and transition, both internally and externally, individually and collectively. Stillness is an illusion. Within us there is blood circulating, breath expanding and contracting, gravity manipulating micro-movements in our muscles. Movement is intrinsically a part of us and the human experience. It is within fashion and dance that Pierpaolo and I are able to explore, amplify and communicate this; to craft movement into something that can be experienced visually and viscerally.


The L'École collection is a celebration of the female body with a fundamentally feminist aim. Do you often use your own creative medium as a platform for communication and important storytelling?

CL: Dance for me is a physical response and expression of life. My inner and outer landscape, what I'm experiencing, what I believe in, what I question, what I'm searching for. Sometimes it starts from a feeling, a sensation and it’s only through the process of creation that I realise what I want to say. The power of dance and all art forms lies in the subjectivity of the viewer. There is beauty and aliveness living inside all of us that wants to be expressed. Creativity is a bridge for this; however, if it’s not through the individual themselves, it is reflected through the creative acts of others. That is what I want my creative medium to be: a channel through which others are able to reconnect to something within themselves; an experience, a feeling.


Tell me about the work you have created for this collaboration and what about the L'École collection inspired your work?

CL: Skin Deep explores and celebrates the feminine in its totality. The movement highlights the instinctual nature and physicality of the feminine that exists beyond societal expectations, embodied in the sensuality unique to myself and the other four dancers. In the work, I also wanted to champion the collective feminine; the beauty, resilience, nurturing support and strength that forms this interconnected web of feminine liberation. I was inspired by the way the Valentino L’Ecole collection explored the softness and sensuality of the feminine, intertwined with strength and rawness; showcasing the multifaceted nature of femininity and womanhood within each meticulously crafted detail.



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The Valentino L’École Spring Summer 24 collection is now available at the Valentino Castlereagh Boutique in the Sydney CBD.


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