A cashmere cape with a chiffon blouse and a day-glo pink loose-legged trouser. 'Et la messe était dite,' as the French would say. Which literally means mass has been said - and could most certainly be said while wearing almost any of the looks presented at Valentino’s haute couture show. There was a distinct Vatican influence in the collection, expressed not just through the capes, but also through a selection of black-and-white nun-like evening dresses, chasuble-like embroideries and an unusually secluded atmosphere.
It would have almost been a trifle overdramatic had it not been for Pierpaolo Piccioli’s fiercely Italian sense of aesthetics. As it was, echoes of Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope appeared here and there. Mostly in the decadent yet bling-less prints, laces and embroideries (thank you so much Pierpaolo, for presenting us with a couture collection entirely devoid of crystals and sequins - that alone is a feat in today’s couture landscape). But also in the colour palette, an unexpected mix of limoncello yellow, taupe, raspberry, sky blue and grass green. Ever since Piccioli went solo at Valentino a year ago, he has been surprising audiences with collections that have, more and more, established a new aesthetic direction for the Maison. This show may be his best yet, and audiences largely agreed, offering the designer an enthusiastic applause after the finale. Which goes to show that a crowd can still appreciate no frills couture. Amen.