Valentino’s Fall 2010 Couture collection was split into two distinct styles. Firstly, there was the softer side, awash with lace, ruffles and pretty pastel colours – girlish charm in the form of babydoll dresses, dainty heels, drop waists and mini skirts. This is clearly a collection appealing to the young at heart and embodies femininity; yet it avoids straying into saccharine cutesiness through the use of clear cut lines and strong, structured pieces.
Nevertheless, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri’s and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s obvious desire to reach out to the younger generation may have been a step in the wrong direction – everything is pretty and pleasing to the eye, yet nothing wows, and the overuse of white and cream becomes bland and boring after a while.
Take, for example, their hoop dress: the sheer chiffon is pretty and the structure interesting, but not particularly groundbreaking, and the bows seem to have been stuck on as an afterthought – a slightly desperate attempt to spice the dress up. This desire to appeal to the youth becomes steadily worse as you look at the second half of the collection – the black lace, long sleeves and high necklines are reminiscent of nineteenth century widow’s weeds, and the tiny skirts, long bare legs and dainty silver shoes below are jarring against the sea of black above. It’s quite clear this gothic morbidity has been inspired by the Twilight craze – emphasised by the slightly melodramatic title of the collection “The Dark Side of First Love” – which in my opinion is never a good thing.
The entire point of haute couture is to create over-the-top fantasy outfits, and this collection, while inoffensive, fails to deliver, instead choosing to play to the stereotype of Generation Y – interested only in minimalism and vampire boyfriends.