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It might be a bit of a cliche to start a story with “they saved the best for last,” but here we are — the last show on the last day of Paris couture week was Valentino. And it was so sublime it brought people to tears.
Tracee Ellis Ross was one admitting to getting teary-eyed. “It was one of the most breathtaking things I’ve seen in my lifetime,” she said after the show.
Mr. Valentino Garavani, himself visibly moved, led a minutes-long standing ovation for designer Pierpaolo Piccioli. He was seated next to Natalia Vodianova, who let out an audible gasp and clutched her heart when a marigold dress came out. The entire audience was emotional.
Spinning the color wheel, Picciloi hit on odd pairings — such as emerald and wine, rust and pink, coral and mint — that all worked perfectly. The colors were saturated and strong. It was a masterful parade through the rainbow, with spring grass, summer sun, deep sky. Models were swathed in yards of fabric, and yet everything felt airy and light.
Piccioli referenced Greek gods and the mythical world on some prints, with gold brocade and lamé creating waves on other gowns and capes. Flowers were the crowning glory, with some models wearing helmets of fresh gerberas, hydrangeas and orchids on their heads.
The colors, the music, the beauty — it was moving, and Ross certainly wasn’t the only one who was emotional. After a week of red carpet dresses and lots of retro 1980s references, it was magnificent.
Couture has seemingly been trying hard to justify itself (and its exorbitant price tags) in the new world of streetwear and athleisure, showing off its tricks and trims and the inside of its ateliers. Dior, Armani and Elie Saab all highlighted the handmade nature of each garment in their show notes. But this was truly what couture is about, creating a dreamy fantasy world we’d like to escape to, even if only for a 10-minute show.
Amber Heard took in the show from the garden room, accompanied by her mother, Paige Parsons, who was literally speechless absorbing the atmosphere of her first couture show. Heard said the two were taking some bonding time together. “She really likes just hanging out with me, god help her,” Heard joked. Sweetly Parsons added that her daughter is her “best friend.”
For Ross and her stylist Karla Welch it was the first time they had been able to travel to the shows together. “This is pure enjoyment. It’s the first opportunity to enjoy the clothes that we revel in on a regular basis,” said Ross. The actress, who said she had already overpacked, was hauling back bags of Parisian favorite Isabel Marant.
The duo said they had their eye out for an Emmys dress. Surely stylists have already put their calls in and we’ll see some of these creations on the fall carpets. We hope, because we want to see these dresses again and again and again.
In the show notes, Piccioli said he wanted to play with time. This collection was truly timeless.
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