Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collections are usually infused with a certain historical element and a wealth of beauty and exquisite materials. This season, their haute couture collection was inspired by another great designer, Mariano Fortuny, a.k.a. “The Magician of Venice.” Fortuny was known for his famous Delphos gowns made from pleated silk fabric, a process he patented in 1909. He was also known for printing metallic dyes on silk velvets, which were influenced by Italian velvets from the early Renaissance era. Dancers Loïe Fuller and Isadora Duncan, who wore Fortuny, were also said to be references for the collection.
References aside, Piccioli and Chiuri managed to create a look that was entirely their own. Models in pleated gowns, lush hand-dyed velvet, and gilded patchworks floated down a runway sprinkled with petals. The romance and luxe of it all is just what Valentino’s couture clients come for, and given what we know about the price of the ready-to-wear, well, these looks are likely even more expensive than your top-of-the-line Range Rover. This 68-look haute couture show (only topped in volume by Chanel) follows the brand’s enormous Pre-Fall collection, which it recently showed at Andy Warhol’s old factory in New York. Business, certainly, is booming.