• Text Lewis Firth
  • 22nd January 2015

Abstractionism

The idiosyncratic aesthetic of Cubism and Futurism produced many artistic greats: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni, to name a few. Portraits of subjects existed in a geometric world where two – and three – dimensional planes were adjacently placed together; it was an acute, non-conformist form of abstraction that opposed the traditional single-perspective in art of that era.

It acted as a primary source of inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli this season. So much so, they collaborated with Esther Stewart, an Australian artist whose work with clashing colour and linearity reflects and responds to the work of said movements.

This was evident from the initial looks: double-cashmere coats’ patterns were cut into symmetrical, regular shapes and coloured in contrasting tones to highlight Stewart’s artistic form; while Shetland-wool, complementary-coloured sweaters became intarsia. Then, the aesthetic developed further into macro patterns – applied on cigarette trousers, fitted suit jackets and clean-cut long coats – that magnetised the eye: a similar effect to as if one was gazing at Braque’s Man with a Guitar.

Sticking to the collection’s catalyst of ideas, pieces developed three-dimensional forms. Floral and butterfly motifs as well as contrastingly coloured pockets were cast across bombers, capes and tailored coats, recalling the appliqued beauties of SS15. Looks 37 and 38’s blouson jackets will no doubt prove top rankers on the season’s most wanted lists: one spangled with a measured constellation, the other seemingly embraced by a mighty, swooping owl, wing tips outreached across the chest.

Inspired by abstractionism, maybe. But today’s Valentino vision is crystal clear.