A sense of nostalgia and wanderlust is what drove designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli to Cuba to unveil their astounding 80-piece Valentino resort 2017 collection at Andy Warhol’s former Factory, New York. The designer duo chose to pay homage to Cuba’s heritage and the richness of nature by treating us to an eclectic and diverse array of pieces that managed to cite the fashion house’s signature features as well with their Fifties-inspired silhouettes and small, lovely details.
The subtle fil rouge that unifies the designs under a common theme, aside from Cuban reminiscences, is the color of red indeed, the shade Valentino is famous for. Whether it is put in the form of floral motifs, solid patterns or even through the statement accessory line, Valentino’s red is omnipresent in the entire line, which makes it possible for the onlookers and customers to experience something that is always new, yet quite familiar.
“The thing we love about Cuba is the different memories of the place—African, Spanish, ’50s America,” Chiuri said Vogue, with Piccioli further explaining that: “It gave us a real freedom to mix, like a souvenir, lots of pieces together.”
Trying to fully celebrate such a melting pot of cultures, Chiuri and Piccioli divided the collection into a couple of major themes, combining them all in certain looks when, after a few ensembles, they were ready to show us the next one. For this reason, the Valentino resort 2017 collection is a skillfully tailored potpourri of colorful African-inspired beading, Cuban traditional tropical flower patterns, military pieces and even Spanish influences, which led the designers to overwhelm the entire line-up with loads of frills, pleats and sensual lace.
To better accentuate Cuba’s different cultures, Chiuri and Piccioli opted to explore contrasting themes, such as goddess-like draped silhouettes combined with puffed-up military jackets, or even layered ponchos tossed over Seventies-inspired bell-bottom trousers. As for the Fifties silhouettes, Chiuri and Picciolli skilfully managed to combine them either with Valentino’s hallmark pieces (such as knee-length skirts and button-down shirts) or the most fashionable trends of the moment, such as off-shoulder necklines, sheer patterns and casual graphic t-shirts.
All of the different Cuban motifs Piccioli and Chiuri decided to display make us feel frozen in time, exactly like what those who had the chance to visit Cuba in the past few years may have felt.
“It’s really unbelievable, how it’s like time has stopped [there]. We are Italian, and when you arrive there, you feel like you’re remembering a place in Italy from when you were a kid,” explained Chiuri regarding this topic, letting us know how she felt after visiting Cuba a few years ago.
Featuring everything from knit sweaters to shirtdresses, frayed denim pieces to bomber jackets to fur coats, Valentino’s 2017 resort line-up can prove anyone wrong for sure, if someone ever thought it is not possible to tell a (hi)story through a fashion collection.
Photos courtesy of Vogue