Valentino opened Milan Men’s Fashion Week with their Spring show “The Narratives.” Returning to Milan, Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli staged his show in the garden of the University of Milan, colloquially known as La Statale. Attendees and students were treated to a show that was accompanied by a live performance by indie musician d4vd.
Piccioli aimed to target a younger audience through the way he staged this show. By stripping away the elitism of fashion, Piccioli hopes to create a dialogue around what is represented as the masculine identity in fashion today.
Piccioli explained, “The signifiers of power and success have so far defined the idea of masculinity, but I believe that true power and strength are about the freedom to show your own fragility and sensitivity.”
For this same reason, he used Hanya Yanagihara’s a Little Life as the main theme of the show. Copies of the book were sent out as invitations for the show, and quotes from it were printed on some of the looks. Piccioli explained his magnetism to the book saying, “The intimacy and humanity of the four male characters, their open vulnerability and resilience was touching and inspiring for me.” However, not everyone saw his vision, writing off the merger as being distasteful as it uses a story of traumatic torture as a fashion accessory.
The show addressed its goal of subverting traditional masculine tropes through subtle changes to classic looks. Classic blazers became boxier, traditional trousers became shorts or skirts, and subtle floral details adorned many of the looks. Piccioli went beyond just the traditional tuxedo black and white by also using some playful colors. The collection ranged widely from subdued to outgoing, leaving something for everyone to appreciated.
Piccioli chose to utilize sleek ties as an accessory on many looks, a choice we have seen from many designers recently. He looks as if he is trying to associate ties with current Valentino as they have also been included in recent womenswear collections. Another star accessory in this show was the many different fun handbags. These bags ranged from extremely tiny to way oversized and were charming additions to many looks.
Much of the show was very simple, and for a Spring collection it felt a bit unexplored. Simply put, it was just elevated classics, taking traditional menswear and making it work in a less traditional way. Still, even in its simplicity, it fits into the perception of the elegant Valentino we have come to know. The looks reliance on the subtle details is what gives them the charm, and it’s what makes this return to Milan, the same city that Valentino Garavani showed his first men’s collection in 1985, a success for Valentino.