Race, age, weight: Valentino advocates diversity in Paris exhibition

It’s a breath of fresh air in Paris, like ValentineDesigner Pierpaolo Piccioli liberated herself from the constraints of race, age and weight on Wednesday to create a playful, inclusive and long-awaited couture moment.

Fashion prides itself on predicting trends and staying ahead of the curve. So many industry watchers have been frustrated in recent years that European fashion houses – some of whom have been accused of being Western-centered and even racist – seems to be behind the problems of body positivity and diversity.

For spring, Piccioli has taken a nice step forward.

Here are some highlights of Wednesday’s show.

Valentino’s variety of haute couture

“I reflected on the body. The repetition of house model proportions has always been a rhythm to follow and I think it’s time for a change,” says Piccioli. “Creativity, like life itself, is possible only in a heterogeneous environment.”

And with that, the acclaimed Italian designer has entered a new realm: A fashionable universe of clothing worn by individuals – regardless of colour, age, height and bust size. waist.

High fashion, a long tradition of tailoring at exorbitant prices, always governed by strict rules about but body shapeand traditionally modeled on predominantly Caucasian European models, of a certain height and weight.

In the multi-story Place Vendome, Piccioli finally breaks those rules.

Sensual beauties, in their 60s, as well as male and female models from various races step out into the sparkling camera flash in light, upbeat and high-fashion haute couture designs. happy. About 32 of the 64 looks – half to be exact – were modeled on by non-white models.

Some fashion observers consider it a “past the time” moment, including Long Nguyen, a prominent Asian-American fashion critic.

“It is a welcome change at Valentino to bring diversity across ages, bodies and races into the high-fashion orbit,” he said. “It’s a process that’s been going on for too long at the luxury brands.”

“There’s still a long way to go,” he said.

Last week, Kenzo presented their first Japanese designer collection since founder Kenzo Takada. Nigo, 51, becomes the second Asian designer to head a European high-fashion label, along with Bally’s Filipino-American Rhuigi Villaseñor. His date is considered an important milestone as luxury industry Wrestling broader with questions about the race.

Couture Anatomy

Diversity is felt not only in Valentino’s choice of models, but also in fashion itself.

Valentino’s collection is titled “The Anatomy of High Fashion”. The style, often cut down and body-cut, is a study of the line between minimalism and flamboyance.

Cutouts are sometimes taken literally by Piccioli – like holes in the sides of pants or vertical cuts down a lime-colored tunic. It creates the best look.

A white column dress in crepe viscose has a beautiful undulating cutout at the bust to give it a playful, modernist vibe. A midnight blue chiffon gown great enough to reveal nipples and skin made the show’s headline the centerpiece of the design. It feels vintage fashion.

Elsewhere, the simplicity is interrupted by the bloom of bows, silks, and flashes of lightning bright colours.

The house says 50 meters (165 feet) of cotton fabric has been hand-stitched by Valentino’s army of tailors to create a sky-blue robe, so enormous that it appears to hover around the model like a halo. smoke halo.

Classic Pirates by Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad is in the mood of 70.

One of two major Lebanese designers to host couture shows in Paris, along with Elie Saab, Murad used silk bands, ornaments and long silk gowns with accordion pleats. Sweep the floor for a classic, confident and sexy performance that sparked piracy.

The runway includes a vintage map suggested for seafaring.

Then the theme becomes clear: the 18th-century Tricorne hat – or pirate hat popular in the ’70s – has been recreated in lavender, complementing flappy leather pirate boots with toes Stylish pointed.

Murad’s cuts hug the naturally high waists of tall models accented by voluptuous dresses. Elsewhere, plunging necklines and off-the-shoulder tops emphasize feminine curves.

At times, the collection feels a bit like an air conditioner. But its sheer excellence and hardcore execution made for a marketable and commercial show.

Viktor & Rolf’s Disappearance Model

Terrible, sly and spooky inventive.

Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf returned to the high-fashion calendar in good form on Wednesday, producing a series of iconic thought-provoking films: The Case of Ghostly, Miniature Models .

viktor & rolf A model wears a creation for Viktor & Rolf’s Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture collection, in Paris, Wednesday, January 26, 2022. (AP Photo / Thibault Camus)

A subtly l’oeil trompe effect pulls the garment’s shoulders so that the model appears to shrink as if suddenly aged. White makeup is used to hollow out their faces along with bold, matte lipstick. Long nails hint at someone who’s been buried alive – in a style you’d have to be daring to wear.

You could say that this collection is not for the shrinking violets.

Style wise, it feels late ’70s. Jabot necklace combined with ruched cuffs and huge ruffled hemlines evoke the golden age of Neo-Romantic. But 25 designs also have an encyclopedic feel. with historical musings like the criss-crossed Shakespearian bodice or the layered raspberry cape with a giant slanted necklace that evokes the look of Queen Elizabeth I.

Blooming Elie Saab

Elie Saab speaks to flowers. On Wednesday, the Lebanese designer grabbed the lavish bread and butter balls that have made him a red carpet hit with celebrities like RihannaHalle Berry and Mila Kunis – and created countless variations.

That’s thanks to his beautiful floral embroidery designs.

Elie Saab A model wears a creation for the Elie Saab Spring-Summer 2022 couture collection, in Paris, Wednesday, January 26, 2022. (AP Photo / Francois Mori)

The bright petals – in the vibrant shade of the fuchsia – seemed to engulf the giant gown that opened the show and resembled a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

Enormous giant pink peonies hung around a model’s neck and waist, matching an off-the-shoulder pink silk gown and train that was in vogue in the ’70s.

And a gown embellished with a Persian rose evokes a fairy-tale princess – an area the designer of romance has explored in the past with considerable frequency.

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