“An America everyone dreams of: hope in mind and on the body.” That was Pierpaolo Piccioli’s intention, as stated in his show notes, for the Valentino show held at the Beekman Hotel — a newly refurbished Gilded Age building — this morning. In a time of complete tumult, a statement like this, modeled on that still-potent concept of hope, couldn’t have felt more current. And it seemed significant that Piccioli chose New York — one of his favorite cities, which also played host to the house’s couture show in 2014 — as the location for this season. Valentino just had a red-carpet win with Emma Stone’s starry Golden Globes dress, and this collection evoked the color-soaked optimism and escapism of her star vehicle La La Land.
As the models turned the hotel’s concentric balconies into a runway, Piccioli unleashed a riot of bright, optimistic colors — celadon and pink and lavender. Some of his dresses were sprinkled with flower prints, which he called “a symbol of optimism … delicacy that withstands even when it starts to dwindle.” The Peter Pan collars on many of the looks evoked the house’s ’60’s designs, but Piccioli leavened the sweetness with, for example, a sequined bralette worn over a dress. In another winning touch, the models wore mini-bags hanging from chains around their necks.
Piccioli finished with a showstopper – a passage of sheer, Oscars-ready gowns glinting with sequins. It was an unapologetic celebration of prettiness. Of course, clothes may feel like cold comfort right now, but we have to find joy where we can. To quote the designer’s statement, “The resilient spirit forges on.”