"Fashion is not art," was the statement that opened ahead of Valentino's Haute Couture show titled Valentino Des Ateliers, presenting its runway in the beautifully manicured lagoon surroundings of Venice's Gaggiandre. A bold statement and what was seen and referred to as the completion of a project long desired by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino's collection was first and foremost "A community of artists. A dialogue of inspiration."
In anticipation to Valentino's Haute Couture show, Pierpaolo Piccioli openly speaks of fashion not being art "because the latter has no purpose outside of itself, while the first always has a practical scope, a function, a use. Acknowledging differences is the first step in educating ourselves towards a mutual listening, made of curiosity, enthusiasm and respect. This listening needs time, just like Haute Couture and at the end of the day like art. That’s why, this project’s progress has been slow, a pace perhaps unusual for our actual world but right and intimate for the world I would like to live in."
The collection showed no mercy or a shortage of colours; the show opening in a flurry of bold shapes and a soiree of printed forms. Masterfully threaded into 84 looks for Valentino Des Ateliers, the collection took on its own definition of chaos with its array of decadent silks, crepes, ostrich feathers and sculpted satins. An eclectic mix of both the avant garde with the minimal, Pierpaolo Piccioli's Valentino runway paraded ballooned jackets and trapezed silhouettes, tastefully pinned with streamlined coats and mercurial floor length gowns.
The collection saw to play on original ideas, drawing its inspiration from the works of contemporary artists, curated together in collaboration with Gianluigi Ricuperati. An extensive list for a collection heralding 84 looks, the works of the artists artists Joel S. Allen, Anastasia Bay, Benni Bosetto, Katrin Bremermann, Guglielmo Castelli, Maurizio Cilli, Danilo Correale, Luca Coser, Jamie Nares, Francis Offman, Andrea Respino, Wu Rui, Sofia Silva, Alessandro Teoldi, Patricia Treib, Malte Zenses and Kerstin Bratsch see themselves reimagined throughout the parade.
In their response, curator Gianluigi Ricuperati recounts - "we must imagine Valentino Des Ateliers as a concert for two distinct worlds - painting and Haute Couture, contemporary art and clothing art - in which each side own voices listen to each other’s song before pronouncing themselves."
The collection was presented at the beautiful old ship building yard in Venice, with the full collection available to view on valentino.com.