Fashion / Style

Valentino Turns Venice Into an Artful Fashion Stage — Bringing the Magic Back

An Open-Air Dream Inspired by Artists

BY // 07.23.21

Forsaking Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli took his vibrant collection to the watery environs of Venice for a presentation that had social media lighting up with images of the billowing ballgowns and pieces that became canvases for a cadre of contemporary artists. The latter embraced the maestro’s fresh vision of the fusion between fashion and art. Thus the collection name Valentino Des Ateliers. The results were spectacular.

Seventeen artists contributed works to the collection with 15 of the 55 women’s pieces inspired by the artists. None was more stunning than the grand finale selection — a two-piece ensemble based on two large-scale brushstroke paintings by British-born American artist Jamie Nares. The peau de soie cape with printed Mikado applications and red cady dress with printed crêpe appliques were inspired by Nares’ Blues in Red and It’s Raining in Naples.

084 VALENTINO HC DES ATELIERS

Valentino‘s description? “The 5-color screen print uses heavy inks to echo the gestural work of the artist. Given the great size of the piece, the printing frames had to be custom-built and printed by hand. The garment is treated with the same technique on silk cady, 700 hours for the creation, 107 meters of fabric.”

Beyond the requisite Valentino reds, the new collection brimmed with a bold palette that ranged from “cyclamen,” “pistachio green” and “neon rose,” to “button yellow.” Pieces were embellished with sequins, rhinestones, micro top stitches, tube pearls and feathers, all embodying the chic elegance that defines the Valentino oeuvre.

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Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2021 presented during the Venice Biennale (Photo courtesy of Valentino)

The collection was presented at the semi-open air Gaggiandre in the Arsenale, a historic structure comprised of two cavernous shipyards and a dock. The original structure dating back centuries served, without any decor, as a frame for the designs. The models walked down a runway made from floating barges while singer and songwriter Cosima gave a live performance.

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“Venice was part of the vision I had from the very beginning,” Piccioli says. “It was the only place in the world in which to present such a collection, a context where nothing can be added or subtracted. The light and power of Venice are the perfect setting in which I’d love to immerse my work.’

The presentation coincided with the Venice Biennale which saw the Arsenale also hosting the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions as well as the International Dance, Music and Theater Festivals.

Connecting the inspired with the extraordinary

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