Reviewing looks in a gallery post-show can be most telling. In ascertaining which are the strongest to make the edit, one relies on gut-level reactions. Maybe, maybe, no, maybe, YES, no, maybe, and so on. With more YESes than anything else in going through Valentino Fall '17 Couture, I'd hazard not being alone in finding creating a shortlist of looks from this collection a challenge. There was so much beautiful complexity as Pierpaolo continues on an extended high at Valentino, and for one of the first times this week, it's beginning to look a lot like haute couture.
There was a lot to love about the collection, from the color-blocking and the large-scale lace embroidery, to the subtle nod to athletic-wear (see sporstbra-esque feature below) and the burnt orange jacquard. Yet what seemed to impress everyone the most has to be this extraordinary sense of drape. And it's not wispy, light and ethereal as we've seen with some of the other gown-heavy collections. It's heavy, slow and substantial. Some of the models appeared to be flying through the halls of Hotel Salomon de Rothschild.
Yet for all of its regal notes and lavish elements, Valentino Fall '17 Couture somehow never failed to appear fresh and modern. There's been a lot of talk about the creative thwarting that occurs from the intense pressure on designers to produce so many collections a year. It seems Pierpaolo has cracked the code to achieving what every fashion creative aspires to do: respecting the house DNA while innovating at a steady (and commercial) pace. How does he do it?