paris fashion week|valentino rtw fall 2011

When Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli stepped into Valentino’s shoes, the question was how they would establish their own identity while such a legendary figure loomed. They’ve done so quite successfully in a few short seasons. The house of Valentino now has a new look that’s been achieved to a large extent through repetition. Dusky colors — variations on nudes and blushes, one silhouette in particular, and a long-sleeve, fitted dress with a flared skirt, the hemline rising or falling depending on the season — have become the house template, and were so again in this collection. It was anchored in pretty, lady looks that have become increasingly wearable with a youthful energy that doesn’t exclude an older audience. The news for fall was a cleaner, sportier day look with an intarsia motif that took the simple, Sixties cut of double cashmere dresses, jackets and swingy skirts in a more casual direction. An otherwise plain dress was done with ribbed sleeves and a knit panel on the bodice. Chiuri and Piccioli introduced deeper colors, like navy and oxblood on rich fur coats and trim leather trenches. Then came lighter fare in sheer silk tops, filmy pleated skirts and long, slim gowns that flaunted the atelier’s prized couture effects — lace, chiaroscuro and flower appliqués. There’s no question it was beautiful, and also a bit safe. But there’s a case to be made for consistency.

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paris fashion week|valentino rtw fall 2011