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Runway Report: Valentino SS19

Just when you thought you knew where luxury maisons were taking the streetwear craze, Valentino comes up with something fresh and new for SS19

It’s about how Valentino can become a relevant brand for today’s generation. — Pierpaolo Piccioli

Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli isn’t big on following rules. He’s been known to march to his own beat, nowhere more evident than in his mission to open the ivory tower of couture to us ordinary folks.

From his position at the summit of fashion’s Mount Olympus, the Italian is determined to help the industry shake off its fuddy-duddy side and embrace fun. And his SS19 menswear collection does exactly that by taking couture to the streets.

It’s about how Valentino can become a relevant brand for today’s generation. — Pierpaolo Piccioli

Sure, there was much titillation when Virgil Abloh brought his Off-White street cred — ahem — to Louis Vuitton, as it signalled couture houses were finally ready to officially embrace urban culture. He was joined in championing this marriage at the Paris menswear summer shows by others including heavy hitter Kim Jones’ Dior Homme presentation. Piccioli, however, brings a welcome dose of whimsy — pink ostrich feathers on sneakers, anyone?

He oscillates from glittering embroidered peacocks and lions and monkeys and owls and all manner of creatures to bold prints stolen from scarves ransacked in the brand’s archives.

Camo print — that menswear staple — is refreshed with a structured take on the tagging popular on the streets, here making good use of the VLTN logo introduced two years ago. And if you’re going to have a logo, why not play with it, right? Not even the humble jeans is spared.

Other outfits see the logo layered on different colours for a head-to-toe look that should slide over into the realm of kitsch but doesn’t. Similarly, his florals would win over even Miranda Priestly in the way Piccioli has them dance over a dark camouflage in a way that’s as serious as it is playful.

And, of course, the ubiquitous box hat reimagined in a myriad ways next to baseball caps.

“It’s about how Valentino can become a relevant brand for today’s generation. I want to get out of this exclusivity and to be more inclusive,” Piccioli said backstage. “I really want couture to be alive. You can’t keep it to the red carpet.”

Valentino’s SS19 collection is all about refined urban looks that say you don’t take yourself too seriously. Because who couldn’t use a little more fun in their life?

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