Valentino unveiled its Spring Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection in what felt like an underground club. With a 9:30 p.m. start time, guests were eager, given the 31-degree outdoor temperature, to see what Pierpaolo Piccioli was going to come up with next.
Set at the Bridge Club on Pont Alexandre III, the event drew a crowd that gathered ’round to see which celebrities were in attendance. Descending the stairs to the River Seine level, stars and influencers stopped on the red carpet to get their photos taken before entering the dark grungy space. Seated front row was a starry lineup that included Anne Hathaway, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Sam Smith, Doja Cat, Charli XCX, celebrity stylist Law Roach, Elvis director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, the producer and costume and production designer Catherine Martin.
Walking in the show were renowned models Anok Yai, the first Sudanese model to open the Prada show in 2018 (Naomi Campbell was the only Black model to have done so previously) and Adut Akech, who starred in Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King.
Quite simply, the collection finely straddled the line between two very different worlds: the couture universe and the club scene — hence the location of the show. Piccioli believes it’s possible to merge the two. “Their shared values: mutual gestures of extravagance, the notion of clothes as tools of transformation, crafting a true self, a dichotomous yet dual vocabulary of display and revelation, permeance through life,” shared the House in-show notes.
From the use of voluminous silhouettes to ones that were fitting and slim and everything in between, the creative director showed a contrast between a very structured world and a let-loose domain. There were volant ruffles giving architecture to the body and reinterpreted polka-dots. He played with the details too, using ostrich feathers, draping, embroidery and tied bows in a collection marked by personality, emotion and a sense of pleasure.
Wearing a bright neon yellow Valentino ensemble, guest Kylie Minogue told The Hollywood Reporter: “I’m still trying to process it all. I love that it represented individuality. You can see references — I know he was talking about [late performance artist] Leigh Bowery and Grace Jones, which is true club culture elevated. I just thought it was beautiful. It all happened so fast, I’m going to have to go and process it all and drool over everything. But the cleanliness of some of it and the cool colors, your blue, your green, your pink, it’s just stunning. And that confidence feels very modern, and you can see that presence make its way down to high-street fashion.”
After the show, guests were shuttled to Valentino’s post-presentation party to celebrate the new collection.