Valentino Pre-Fall 2017

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Pierpaolo Piccioli staged Valentino’s Pre-Fall show at the newly refurbished Beekman hotel this morning. The venue wasn’t happenstance. Piccioli is embarking on a journey as the sole creative director of Valentino, having worked side by side with Maria Grazia Chiuri at the brand for 17 years. In a preview, he called New York “the land of opportunity, a place where dreams come true,” and Valentino promoted the show on Instagram with evocative shots of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. On the soundtrack, Nina Simone sang, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. . . and I’m feeling good,” for anyone who didn’t get the message.

Fashion has witnessed countless comings and goings over the past years. If Piccioli and Chiuri’s parting of the ways was more bittersweet than most—theirs was such a success story—it came with a happy ending. Piccioli’s solo debut back in October was an unequivocal triumph, full of magical dresses inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights and with a surprising new emphasis on daywear.

He took up that more casual spirit for Pre-Fall, with a caveat:

“It’s important to give daywear a touch of dreams.”

Marching out on terrific, over-the-knee flat leather boots, the first dress was a short floral print, but with jet-black bugle beads stitched perpendicularly to the frock’s vertical seams. A glossy snakeskin shirtdress was hand-painted with pastel blooms, while a navy peacoat was laser cut and stitched with beads to create what looked like three-dimensional appliqués, exquisitely understated. As for dreamy, pajama sets were paired with patchwork mink coats and slip-on sneakers, a first on a Valentino runway.

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