Finally getting round to my critique of Valentino's Couture collection for the 2010 Fall season has of course been inspired by all the romantic vibes from the media, Internet and magazines- but I am beginning to finally enjoy and settle in to the emotion of romance. I also downloaded a French speaking app for my phone which I've been musing over to further heighten and emphasise in my mind that fantasy of honeymooning in Paris, being well dressed and orbiting all activities around the Eiffel Tower. Although there was a small excerpt from a Vogue magazine that has been hanging over my bed for at least a year now, I was delighted to find some mystery dresses I was dying to investigate also enclosed in this collection. The tailoring and hemlines are very modest, but the cinched waists and structure about the busts of many of the dresses is enough to catch the discerning attention (or should that be attraction?) of onlookers. It's subtle and charming the way Stephen Fry speaks, mostly in the witty role of quiz master for QI. Romance should be subtle, a game of chase but woo us easily and I think this collection emulates all these feelings of infatuation- at least for me. Feminine motifs such as bows, lac, sheer material, crystals and roses are all sprinkled sparingly across the designs and are balanced well with one another.
I searched for maybe three years to find out where this simple but amazing dress came from... admittedly I wasn't trying very hard but it feels good to conquer a mystery. Of course since I fell in love with it my taste has changed and the way I choose my wardrobe has evolved considerably, but that still doesn't really quench my love for it.There's no crazy prints of textures for me to sink my teeth into and discuss, but the neckline is really well combined with the bows which connect all the features together. I think when putting together outfits and looks a sense of unity is one of the hardest things to think of and produce- especially if your wardrobe sort of contains pieces of everything imaginable. Even for a designer creating something from scratch it's not always easy to deliver on something that isn't too complicated and doesn't have too many elements going on. I miss minimalist style and my certain crush on Alexa Chung, but I don't see myself going back to basic style either. It's still nice to reminisce though.
I was pleased to see the model presentation and the shoes released to be minimalist and passive in contrast to the dresses and outfits themselves- which ring so clear in my mind as the most impressive component of the collection. I could go on and on about the dresses and could probably make conflicted choices for all eternity choosing a favourite piece or what I would love to be seen in. Where to start... well the dress included in that magazine clipping I mentioned was the large, white rose centrepiece featuring a sheer neckline and puffed long sleeves. I've mentioned numerous times that I did Literature in high school and the teachers droned into us the symbolism of an open rose of a woman's sexuality and yadda yadda... taking all that into account seems to irrelevant to a discussion of aesthetic and fashion. Yes it is a little bit sexy, but I think that's mainly attributed to the sheer dress and the created illusion of nudity, which I would be very, VERY surprised about in a collection which seems so prestigious and free of scandal. If the petals and stuff didn't seem to three-dimensional and forthcoming I would attempt to wear it underneath a graduation gown... if I knew a magical place that still stocked couture collections that are three years old. *sobs quietly*
Anyone with real ties to the fashion world would probably organise my execution for the comparison, but being a child born in the 1990s fluffy white feather dresses will always remind me of Cher from Clueless. There, I said it, cue the daggers being thrown at me. In me defence, this is what happens when you throw such a frock on a blond model and tastefully dance on the style of boudoir. Of course in the movie Cher insists that her dress isn't a top and is from Calvin Klein so I guess I have my wires crossed or something on a monumental scale but I still stand by my comments of comparing angelic creatures to Beverly Hills high school girls.It's not something I can picture myself wearing personally, or styling either since it's such a stand-alone piece of it's own but I dig it a lot and the vibes it sends out. I think the tiers of feathers really help to show shape and distinctions of the female figure as well- as opposed to a big shapeless mop of white fluff everywhere. The point is the idea is simple but the execution is impeccable and I think that outweighs a really bombastic idea that is carried out poorly (much like my own outfit posts? Ouch, but still my camera seriously sucks).
You who, Lady Gaga, where are you? Sorry if that sounds a little mean, it wasn't meant to be. I wouldn't mind seeing it worn with extra large sunglasses, red lipstick and a extensions pulled together in the form of a bow but we'll never know because I suck at using MS Paint and Photoshop. Depending on where you stand with pop stars and their influence on fashion and style, or you may take it as a compliment. It's just that I was surprised to see such a rigid and boldly structured piece in nude from this collection- but the lattice ribbon print stretching from the caged bodice to the hoop skirt and covered in bows, worn with the extra long evening gloves really wowed me. It's a little courageous and shows a different side to couture that seems more familiar than dresses and coats- the ground of fantasia I am more familiar with. Deconstructing the facets that make up the dress, it seems strange that at face value the material and texture of the dress aren't too odd. Nude was previously shown before awash a see of sparkling little crystals and bows were introduced from the opening outfit. Now it seems entirely different, new exciting and racy. I think that shows true free-thinking and ingenuity from a designer to seemingly recreate and rework motifs we have already seen before in a collection of thirty-something outfits.
Gowns and frocks that seem to emulate the shape of a tulip or a fishtail usually annoy me instantly- there's a certain lack of shape and silhouette that is lacking or seems disturbingly unnatural. I can boast about having seen so many disappointments and atrocities that I now automatically dismiss the trend. But this is a game-changer, because I utterly and unequivocally love this. My faith has been restored: Huzzah! Oh where to begin... well the almost-lurex tone and grain of the material that glints in the light is perfect, the tight braided bun up do matches it perfectly and the high sitting bodice with low hanging frills of the hemline spread out and give allusions to flower petals. I can see so clearly how a dress like this would have been initially envisioned from a sketch to the runway look- since the pose of the model is so theatrical but it's an almost natural reaction to something so unique, wonderful and one of a kind. The mid section seems so tall it's really like a budded blossom ready to burst but excitingly futuristic with such amazing tones and textures of silver, strongly emphasised at the ankles. I imagine the red carpet walk of glory to be made of things like these- glittery threads imbued with magical crushed pixies or a Harry Potter plot device. Something special and elusive.
For the pale shades of pink and less textured outfits shown in white I am afraid to say I couldn't pick out their shape across the stark white background of the runway until seeing the close-ups, which is still slightly frustrating and unideal. That's the only thing I'm critical on, because I see it as some horrible force field that prevents me from visually gorging on a sumptuous feast using my eyeballs of such pretty and elegant dresses and coats. And it bugs me more than I care to mention and I still haven't come across a solid solution of finding a neutral background that doesn't make half the clothes within a collection suddenly invisible. While walking down the length of a runway I am sure it is not an issue for those invited to a show, but the rest of us common people, blogging and working from our homes and bedrooms sadly can't afford the luxury.
I think whether you are a fan of couture or not this collection is at least worth a small sticky beak into-it may reaffirm some closely held truths or open your eyes to something new and exciting. Of course couture collections are like the fantasy/ science fiction section of your local library, well, actually