It was business as usual on Wednesday evening as we arrived to the Valentino show. Same venue – the luxurious Hotel de Rothschild - same A-list guests impeccably dressed by the brand, same incense scent perfuming all the salons. Everything was carefully designed to make us feel at home, to make us feel like nothing had changed in the world of Valentino couture ever since Maria Grazia Chiuri made her move to Dior. Except things had, indeed, changed.
That was made clear as soon as the show began, opening with a Greek-inspired pleated white dress. It was simplicity at its best, followed by a series of elongated silhouettes in crepe, chiffon and tulle. It was the same Valentino woman of previous seasons, minus the frills and froufrous, the poems embroidered in dresses and the theatrical aura. Pierpaolo Piccioli had stripped her bare, retaining only her essence. And her essence was all we really needed. The transparencies, the long dresses worn over smoking trousers, the mint, lavender and rose petal tones showcased the savoir-faire of the brand’s ateliers and would only have been spoiled by ornament. Of course the question remains whether the existing Valentino client will be as entranced by the display of purity and the lack of extravaganza… but chances are she will. After all, she has always, above all, been on the look out for beautifully crafted, tasteful red carpet-worthy gowns. And, along the way, he might also bring a new one on board.