Breaking the mold of the Paris Fashion Week’s theming, Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s vision for the brand’s Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection centered around displaying a paradox of haute couture, the creation of custom-fitting high-end clothing. With haute couture notable for its complex appearances, Piccioli’s designs retained that element while streamlining them.
Nestled to the north of Paris, the Château de Chantilly, a castle dating back to the 14th century, became the stomping ground for the collection. Known for its numerous rebuilds, the building’s symbolism of French heritage has stood the test of time.
Constable of France Anne de Montmorency’s statue, sculpted on horseback with a raised sword, watched over the amassing audience down by the central garden fountain. Surrounded by 115 hectares of greenery, the groovy melodies of musician ANOHNI signaled the start of the show.
American actress and model Kaia Gerber kicked off the collection, striding from the castle bridge and descending a staircase to walk the runway, an assembly of other models behind her. Wearing a plain open-split dress shirt and loose jeans, it was Gerber’s glamorous accessories that embellished paradox, her crystal earrings and bowed flat shoes sparkling with every step.
Adding shimmer and shine to candid styling was a common thread for the collection, further showcased in the following outfits.
Twinkling under the evening sun, eye-catching pieces became the standouts of their respective attire. A glittering dress, shiny chiffon scarf, hairlike diamond headpiece, and golden leaves imprinted on pants argued a strong sense of character against the minimalistic nature of the other garments.
Feathers, flowers, and embroidery were also all motifs that added depth to the simplicity of the fabrics.
Arrayed with an air of elegance, the flair of feathers swayed in the light breeze while nestled into the wardrobe. Prominently formed into a headdress, protruding from gloves, and encasing the chest section of a wool dress, the avian accessory continued a tradition of the sophistication of plumes.
Whether blooming across a silk playsuit and transparent dress or into a rose-shaped hood and a chrome pseudo-coattail, flower patterns felt right at home within the Château’s garden. Rooted in fashion customs, the flowery application to garbs fabricated both a visual and mental complexity.
Valentino’s memorable technique of embroidery made itself present, though in a subtler intricacy than the extravagant stitchings of the brand’s previous works. Flashy and dazzling, beads, sequins, and rhinestones were embroidered onto dresses of satin, chiffon, organza, and crêpe, alongside capes, coats, tank tops, and trousers.
Colors leaned toward lucidity, with the majority of outfits incorporating one to three tones. Shades of white, black, dove grey, scarlet, and navy were most salient, with flamingo pinks, dark greens, and dijon yellows occasionally appearing.
Wrapping up, the line of models all circled the outdoor venue a final time as a group of figures emerged atop the garden’s staircase. Arriving to a standing ovation, Piccioloi cheerfully took to the runway alongside his dedicated team of seamstresses to mark a close to the show.
Exhibiting a new ideology in the legacy of haute couture, Valentino’s Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection’s oxymoronic message of “simple complexity” is one that seeks to advance the experimentation of high fashion.
Here are our favorite looks:
Image credit: Valentino