“Subtle disruption. Gentle distortion,” read the show notes at Valentino. It was an emotionally charged presentation from Pierpaolo Piccioli, and his first menswear offering for Valentino since co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri left to take the helm at Dior. The setting was more intimate than usual, staged in the leathery salons of Hotel Particulier D’Iéna, and each guest was given a front-row view.
The premise was a lack of bureaucracy, or fusty correctness. Instead, it suggested irreverence, and choices built on instinct. This manifested in incorrectly slim bow ties, and tuxedos paired idiosyncratically with baseball caps and technical sneakers. Amid the tidy column silhouettes and reserved colours both known to Valentino were blocks of patent leather, zebra stripes and peony pink.
The main visual takeaway was Piccioli’s collaboration with punk artist Jamie Reid, who’s most famous, perhaps, for such album covers as Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Reid’s iconic, ransom-like typeface streaked across the fronts of knitted crewnecks, the backs of checkered-wool parkas, and the profiles of shopper bags, reading, “reclaim your heritage”, “it seemed to be the end until the next beginning”. Timely statements, both for Piccioli, and the rest of the world. A remix played of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, Michael Nyman’s piano composition, The Heart Asks Pleasure First, and David Bowie’s posthumously released single, I Can’t Give Everything Away. All sentimental tracks that give thoughts on loss and renewal. The soundtrack for boys who wear their art on their sleeve.