Valentino's fashion show for Spring/Summer 2024, held in Paris, proved to be one of the most beautiful of the season, thanks to an incredible combination of choices: an extraordinary location at L'École des Beaux-Arts, live performances, and the creativity expressed through the presented looks.
Although some decorative details may recall past haute couture with their baroque touches, the contrasting, minimalist, and clean looks lent this collection a touch of modernity and wearability. Valentino embraced the concept of contrast, recognizing that each of us is different and has the right to freely express our sense of femininity and social empowerment, to be whomever we desire to be. The color white took center stage in this collection, considered an element that removes and liberates, placing the garment at the core as a tool for self-representation and self-discovery.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino's creative director, worked on the idea of a dress that engages with the body, skin, and nudity, but rejected the objectifying concept of female physicality and the clichés that often stem from it. He envisioned a streamlined, simple, and fresh collection in which shapes are outlined through intricate textile reliefs, strategic openings, and a notable absence of superfluous elements. This collection was evidently designed with a commercial goal in mind, although it was somewhat overshadowed by the powerful performance by FKATwigs that accompanied the fashion show.
One distinctive feature of this collection is the abundance of white, with the first half of the runway dominated by total white looks. These garments represent purity and freshness, while the relief details on the fabric create flowers and baroque-inspired foliage. Makeup was kept to a minimum, and there were no high heels or seductive elements to distract from the designer's intent.
The garments presented in this collection are synonymous with purity and candor, clothing and revealing the body through cutouts that Piccioli attributes to the power of intimacy, individuality, and empowerment. This collection promotes the freedom to be oneself, irrespective of the male gaze or societal expectations, a consistent theme in the works of the creative director.
Pierpaolo Piccioli has created a consistent connection with his previous works at Maison Valentino, reconnecting this collection with the white collection that opened the Valentino Spring/Summer 2020 runway show. The 2023 fashion show was a celebration of the beauty of simplicity and demonstrated that fashion can be a powerful tool for expressing one's identity, challenging gender stereotypes, and offering a visual and conceptual experience that goes beyond simply wearing a garment.