#SuzyCouture: Valentino’s Digital Journey ‘Of Grace And Light’

‘Of Grace and Light’ is the name of a Valentino Haute Couture show like no other: intensely beautiful white dresses blown into full or intensely elongated shapes by Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli, then wildly colored with projections of digital patterns by SHOW Studio photographer and film- maker, Nick Knight.

These poetic silhouettes are then crowned with headpieces by Philip Treacy.

For the final, ultra-long dresses flowing towards the floor or shoulders enveloped in a fluff of white make the show look like a circus parade. Welcome to Cinecitt√†, Rome’s vast and historic film studio.

“It was an experience; a journey through a kind of emotion – and even for us it was a dream, “Pierpaolo said after the mesmerizing presentation, referring to the work of legendary Italian movie director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

But this is not a film show, nor a fashion show, as we know them, but rather a hybrid of both. It makes a stunning end to a couture season that was brim-filled more with imagination than with clothes.

“No tricks, no gimmicks, no packaging, no story telling – just creative fashion and humanity, trying to deliver a different idea, playing with proportions and putting fashion at the center of the conversation,” Pierpaolo said.

The entire show is a play in contrasts on 15 silhouettes, from its opening streaked with a brilliant, burning red glow to figures projected in icy blue and sunshine-yellow petals that competes with the many later shades of frigid white.

By the time Pierpaolo experiments with different, colorless textures, it becomes clear that these are not costumes but genuine gowns, begging to be developed for clients. The detail is evident, even if difficult to grasp on screen.

“We didn’t want not to dream, “the designer explained, referring, no doubt to loyal or potential clients. One silvered dress, shimmering with layers of decoration as it flows to knees, calves and far, far below, has a regal grandeur.

Valentino Haute Couture Autumn / Winter 2020

Another white gown, with its forest of snowy leaves from the waist up, has a skirt falling down, down, down like a waterfall.

Valentino Haute Couture Autumn / Winter 2020

Leaving the color and visual drama to his photographer friend, Pierpaolo takes a different path, with “no tricks, no gimmicks, no packaging, no story telling. Just creativity, fashion and humanity “.

Some of the models appear to be elevated on pedestals, while others seem to be suspended from the air, with skirts five feet longer than usual.

“It’s extreme – to reflect the extreme situation,” the designer said. “It was a silence full of emotions – a moment I will never forget in my life.”

But how does this collection appear with that exceptional moment one year ago when Pierpaolo chose to use entirely models of color, receiving a standing ovation and reducing many in the audience to tears?

There is, to be brutally honest, no substitute for the real thing: live presentations with the graceful walk-past of models who bring, occasionally, that sense of rapture that marks fashion history.

The finale of the Valentino Haute Couture Autumn / Winter 2020 presentation

Yet, in a discomforting and unsettling period of our history, this couture film comes the nearest to amazing grace.

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