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As Paris Fashion Week continues to roll out the fall-winter 2019 collections, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli focused on the art of love at Valentino on Sunday, while Givenchy delved into “a winter of Eden” theme.
As one expression of love at Valentino, Piccioli’s celebrity-packed front row included singer Janelle Monáe, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart, 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford and Pretty Little Liars actress Sofia Carson wearing Valentino outfits in the brand’s trademark red hue. Other notables in attendance were Alexa Chung, Nicky Hilton Rothschild and models Liya Kebede and Naomi Campbell who walked in (sort of) fashionably late.
A massive neon word art installation by Scottish poet and artist Robert Montgomery in the clear plastic box in the garden of the Hotel National des Invalides greeted the Valentino guests, reading: “The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive.” Piccioli also engaged artists in other forms — poet, actress and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina; 27-year old Grammy Award-winning songwriter and activist Mustafa Ahmed; and the English writer/actor/model Yrsa Daley-Ward — to send out a living, breathing love poem of fashion. Guests received a book of poetry by the four artists, titled Valentino on Love, and phrases were embroidered or printed as hidden heartfelt messages inside the clothing and accessories.
Collaged patterns of flowers, marble cupid statues and butterflies also dominated the collection — a collaboration with fashion designer Jun Takahashi of Undercover — placed on coats, dresses, trousers and tops. Piccioli combined his romantic flou — side-neck pussy bows, marabou feather details, ruffles and finely pleated tulle — with more pared-down streetwear such as cocoon-shaped coats, cape silhouettes and the occasional mini dress (worn with oversize bucket hats) that had a slightly ‘60s vibe a la Courrèges. The designer has made outerwear with a message a brand staple. And we imagine that the finale of finely pleated, ruffled and embellished gowns will elicit a passionate response on the red carpet.
Guests arriving at the Givenchy show in the Jardin des Plantes (a botanical garden) were greeted by the name Givenchy spelled out in large block letters that were lit and emanating smoke. Waiters with red candy apples and the sinister appearance of a seemingly endless pitch black tunnel (that served as the runway) with only barren trees visible through the clear plastic roof had a few guests wondering if an evil witch would appear next. But creative director Clare Waight-Keller’s show for Givenchy, The Winter of Eden, was tempting guests with a new proposition, to “reconcile geometrics with an innate softness,” according to show notes.
As for those guests, Rebel Wilson sat front row, having just celebrated her 39th birthday the day before with a jaunt to Paris for her first fashion week, courtesy of Givenchy. The actress (who first connected with Waight-Keller through her stylist Elizabeth Stewart at the InStyle Awards in L.A., according to the fashion house) posted highlights of her trip on Instagram (including custom-made Givenchy outfits and handbags, along with dinner with Waight-Keller in the City of Lights). Other stars in attendance include Rosamund Pike, Gal Gadot, singer Sam Smith and racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
A “new sculpted” silhouette emerged this season, with Waight-Keller giving a rounded touch to the often hard shoulder line — sometimes taking a turn toward the dramatic with sweeping taffeta sleeves and cape-like trains. Tailored Japanese wool tweeds and Calvary twills as long overcoats and suit jackets, worn belted, were shown alongside tubular sweater dresses and an army of pleated floral Fortuny-esque column dresses with soft ruffled neck and hemlines. Leather and python separates, mainly slim-fitted coats in varying lengths from ankle to waist, retained the harder edge and men’s looks featured leather paired with crisply tailored suiting.
This season offered plenty of options for the red carpet, too. Waight-Keller shined with weeping willow embroidery in crystal, sequin and bugle beading on un-fussy black taffeta dresses as well as on a tuxedo lapel. Riffs on the tux offered varied options for leading ladies who prefer to wear the pants.
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