On Monday, Valentino presented his Fall-Winter 2019 collection. Pierpaolo Piccioli inaugurated in his store Gianza Six de Tokyo the concept store of his firm, Valentino TKY, created in collaboration with Sarah Andelman. The parade, the first mixed of the maison, is one of the most anticipated, and will show the proposals of Pier Paolo Piccioli for the next season. In addition, in the event, the transformation of the Valentino store will be revealed in a concept store that will highlight collaborations with artists, craftsmen and local firms. A new store concept for which Pierpaolo Piccioli has counted on the help of Sarah Andelman, former artistic director of Colette.
Pierpaolo Piccioli wanted to break away from the house’s historical world of lacquered beauty and to put on a show in a concrete warehouse next to a river where ships once off-loaded their cargo. It was a statement of the way he has adapted the codes of the house to the modern world with intelligent focus and grace.
In this raw space, the refinement of the clothes stood out with added drama as the pianist Angèle David-Guillou performed her haunting composition “Desert Stilts” on a gleaming black Steinway to the accompaniment of lively strings.
“I love the culture of Japan,” declared Piccioli at a morning preview of the festive evening presentation. “It’s so modern with a sense of tradition which is romantic, not nostalgic—it’s part of the present.” In a moment where cultural sensitivities in the fashion world are on high alert, Piccioli explored the subtleties of his host country with his characteristic soulful elegance, particularly the concept of ma—the space or interval between objects, or the telling pause in a conversation—and of wabi-sabi, which finds beauty in imperfection. “I’ve always been fascinated by this idea,” Piccioli explained, “Western culture is about symmetry, perfection, static beauty, while wabi-sabi is more close to the idea of harmony, of inner grace. Time goes by and it adds, it doesn’t take away. It’s really interesting for this moment—in the past, beauty was perfection, but I really feel beauty is about diversity, that this idea of wabi-sabi is very modern in this moment.”
Hours later, she went to the Terrada Warehouse, on Tennozu Island in Tokyo, to present her Pre-fall 2019 collection. The collection would be the first for the firm in which both male and female fashion joined.
Thus, between designs with masculine touches and others laden with femininity that intermingle, the catwalk was filled with men and women who gave life to bets inspired by the heart of Japan and the “Wabi Sabi”. Those airy silks seemed to have been crushed in the hand. Once-vibrant floral prints were reimagined in red over-dyed on black, and the house’s signature ruffles were translated into flounces of mohair knit tumbling down a sweater scattered with self-color silk florets, while fronds of ostrich fluttered over the over-scale sleeves of a nylon bomber jacket or a man’s bucket hat.
This inspiration was translated into games of contrasts of asymmetries, the presence of logomania and athleisure splashing details and features of haute couture as well as parkas and padded coats, in frills that are squashed and folds that are misaligned and, in short, features that they make imperfection perfect. All this, following a line of color that was divided between white, black, navy blue and, of course, red Valentino. That Ghauri dress became a black and white teddy bear coat as light as thistledown. The sunray pleats of a ’70s gown were intriguingly applied to a man’s suit and shirt, and the detail on a tight ’80s cocktail dress was reworked into a top cut loose and free as a T-shirt. A voluminous opera coat, meanwhile, became a trenchcoat, inset with traceries of filmy black lace but grounded with hefty Doc Martens boots in black or scarlet, ensuring that even the most fragile of dresses was ready to face the mean streets.
As the spectacular finale of scarlet dresses fluttered by, a storm of red rose petals fluttered from the ceiling and the crowd went wild.