Eye on the Runway: Valentino Pre-Fall 2013

There is something sweet about the vision that designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have created for the house of Valentino. But in their pre-fall 2013 collection, which featured a staggering 70 looks, a little rebelliousness has has crept into the romanticism.

Along with the label’s signature scarlet red — to which a substantial passage of the collection was dedicated — the designers have established some new codes of their own, namely a demure silhouette with long sheer sleeves and a high neck. The shape was seen as a formal gown with appliqued roses on a dusty floral print and on a trio of intricately beaded dresses. Its most surprising application, however, was a va-va-voom high-gloss patent mini-skirt, its aggressive sex appeal tempered, and somehow simultaneously intensified, by its starched-white color.

There was, of course, softness to be found, in generously ruffled skirts, capes, and a beaded jumpsuit in blush. With each new collection, Chiuri and Piccioli continue to explore the limits of couture techniques, creating a range of looks with the highest level of craftsmanship and material — leather, lace, collaged fur, leopard-print leather and a decadent dose of crocodile — all the way down to a heavily embellished puffer parka.

–Heather Corcoran

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