Fall 2013 Haute Couture: Valentino's Enchanting Couture


The program notes for Valentino’s Fall/Winter 2013 haute couture collection announced "Enchanting, encyclopedic couture," and this is exactly what the fashion house’s two designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, delivered.

 Encyclopedic, because the style and silhouettesrun a gamut of fashion history, from ecclesiastic renaissance cape and rococo gilding patterns on cashmere to a chic 1950s silhouette that a Hitchcock heroine would have loved to wear, offering restrained sexiness in flatteringoutfits. And enchanting, because the designers, inspired by a cabinet of curiosity of Queen Elisabeth I, took their audience into an eccentric world where corals invade a silk dress or a cape, exotic animals dominated prints and tactile embellishments covered surfaces.

There was a rich narrative sequence, collars turned into martingales, small capes were attached to jackets or regal Renaissance-inspired coats, and sleeves were extended.

Rather austere Scottish herringbone hemp sported cashmere applique of rococo scroll patterns, large bees were embroidered on silk by Maison Lesage, and a skirt front was made entirely of tiny colorful pheasant feathers by Maison Lemarie which created exquisite patterns.

Importantly, the designers, better known for their long couture gowns, offered plenty of luscious daywear, with pencil skirts and capes in cashmere or wool in classic shades of dark brown, camel, gray, and black that looked perfect for a chic hunting weekend or a cold winter’s day at a Scottish manor.

Accessories include small round mother of pearl clutches with elaborated clasps with red coral or a centaur with a bow.