I'm currently getting away from it all, spending the weekend in Lutsen, MN, just off Lake Superior. The view is breathtaking. Our cabin overlooks the water, and the surrounding fir trees are white with snow, a regiment of icy stalagmites. This morning I ate breakfast while looking out over the rocky shore. And as I gazed out of the enormous picture window, snuggly wrapped in a cashmere cardigan and holding a hot mug of freshly brewed coffee, I couldn't help but wonder...
What the eff is going on with Valentino?
After Valentino Garavani's retirement, Alessandra Facchinetti took over, designing only for two seasons. I loved her fresh take on the classic brand, referencing its origins while moving in a new direction. But Valentino Garavani thought she had strayed too far from his original vision, and she was unceremoniously outed in one of the most dramatic dismissals in the fashion industry in recent years. She was replaced by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, Valentino's long-time accessory designers. This week's couture show was the pair's much-anticipated debut, and though Valentino himself praised the collection, I found it completely underwhelming.
Probably afraid to rock the boat after Facchinetti's dismissal and Valentino's petty jabs at her in the press, Chiuri and Piccioli stuck closely to the classic Valentino look, creating a collection that was almost a recreation of the house's archives. Bows? Check. Rosettes? Check. Multiple shades of red? Ladylike coats? Inoffensive evening gowns? Check. Check. Check. Though the collection was refined and well-made, it seemed a step backward for the house. The presentation lacked the drama of a couture show, which begs the question: If not for drama, why do couture at all? As for Chiuri and Piccioli, I think they have a lot of talent and a great point of view. The question is, will they feel that they have the freedom to express themselves, or will they be too worried about the shadow of Valentino Garavani?