• Text  Dean Mayo Davies
  • Photography  Alexandre Sallé de Chou
  • 26th June 2013

The clash

The Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild where Valentino hold all their shows, in Paris’ 8th arrondissement, is a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe.

Expressing the neo-classical architectural tastes of the end of the 18th century, the Hôtel has encapsulated the French ‘Art of living’ for nearly two centuries. It stands in grounds once occupied by Louis XVI and at the beginning of the 20th century, was turned into an ‘Art House’, housing the collections of the baron Salomon and his widow Adèle de Rothschild.

It’s a serious manor for Valentino’s young prince to stalk. Following last season’s Carnaby tailoring, this time he dressed down his decadence with a potent Havaianas collaboration, featuring the mass-market rubber sole with a Valentino alligator fixture.

Why? He’s a winner, and a youthful one at that, so he doesn’t need to try harder. It’s a well-executed clash of high/low references that has brought Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, interviewed in the current HERO, so much acclaim.

The clothes were Inspired by uniforms, so we got highly-laboured Japanese denim suiting, utility shirts stripped of embellishment and worker jackets with special pocket treatments that look like they’ve been sealed shut.

On the surface things are deceptively, elegantly simple. But like the cool demeanour of their man, they’re certainly not.