Pierpaolo Piccioli’s couture creations at Valentino are the purest embodiment of fashion as unbridled fantasy, so it’s interesting that his SS20 ready-to-wear showing opened with numerous riffs on the ultimate wardrobe staple: the crisp white shirt. With her eyes and eyebrows carefully studded with glistening gold gems – courtesy of Pat McGrath – Piccioli’s muse Adut Akech opened the show, commanding the crowd in a pared-back white dress, whose billowing sleeves and loosely-belted waist were its only defining features.
The collection continued in this vein, keeping largely to an all-white colour palette and using the white shirt as its stylistic starting point. This simplicity allowed the details to shine: cascades of ruffles fell from the shoulders of some shirt-inspired dresses; elsewhere, sleeves were gathered into exaggerated frills, lending a couture sensibility to an otherwise everyday classic.
Bold injections of neon colour came as the show progressed, but silhouettes remained simple: high necklines, short hemlines and puffball sleeves. There were lashings of Piccioli’s trademark extravagance – a feathered, white bodice here, a paintbox-bright floral print teamed with layers of metallic pink sequins there – but the collection’s strongest looks were generally the simplest. Even the later, more traditionally couture looks usually featured intricately-layered chiffon and delicate embroidery, creating an ethereal effect guaranteed to draw critical acclaim.
GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show