WWD Digital Daily

Dream Scape

● The Italian luxury house unveiled a new couture collection in Beijing.


Pierpaolo Piccioli has had a busy two days in Beijing, first launching a capsule collection called “Daydream” specifical­ly for the Chinese market and, on Thursday night, unveiling a special couture collection at the Aman Summer Palace to celebrate the House of Valentino and China. The 45 looks were a blend of East and West, with lots of twisted bows and embroidery, as seen in the gown here.

BEIJING — Most brands when they host a show in China, as Valentino did here on Thursday, amp up all the China references as much as possible. Not so for the Roman house, which debuted a new couture collection here, outside of its regular calendar.

“It is a classic haute couture Italian collection,” Valentino's creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli underscore­d. The show was held on the northweste­rn edges of the city, at the Aman Summer Palace, a resort that sits right at the doorstep of the former opulent retreat built for Qing dynasty emperors.

Rather, Piccioli hoped people would think of it as a daydream, the title of this particular collection, in which two ancient capitals – Renaissanc­e-era Rome and imperialis­tic Beijing – engage in a dialogue.

He further elaborated: “It's keeping your identity and maintainin­g your diversity, but living together — which I think is good in life in general, not just for a collection.”

Operatic music flowed through the series of narrow chambers and corridors of the Aman resort for a show that felt intimate despite its more than 600 guests. Just the night before, Valentino treated guests to dinner at TRB Hutong where there were ►

parallel but contrastin­g performanc­es by singers in the Chinese operatic tradition, including Ayanga.

In total, there were 45 looks and 45 seamstress­es flew to the Chinese capital to ready the collection, which was witnessed by a front row that included actresses such as Shu Qi and EXO boy band member Lay Zhang, who headlined the after party.

Many of the models had a full face of silver glitter applied, lending a futuristic touch to Piccioli's inspiratio­n, derived from the paintings of the old art masters. Twisted bows featured throughout in all sizes, mixed in with flower details, capes and voluminous shoulders. Traditiona­l Renaissanc­e motifs on jacquard were made modern by switching to shades like greens and pink.

As you would expect from a show from a house associated with a signature red, in a country that also is well known for its penchant for red, the shade dominated in the outfits of the audience and also appeared in a number of looks. Piccioli pointed out he had created a special shade of red for the night, which was a mix of three hues that he referred to as Daydream Red.

“This is a combinatio­n of Valentino red, and a very Valentino pink, which is more in my world, and Chinese red,” he said.

Chinese clients make up around 35 percent of Valentino's haute couture business, Piccioli estimated.

“Of course, we don't have 600 couture clients in China,” Piccioli said, “but I want the people to dream about Valentino. It's about sharing a moment, an emotion, an idea in order to give an idea of what Valentino is.”

One of the final looks sure to dominate social media was the apparition of a model who wore a head-to-toe silver shimmering gown. It was paired with a similarly shaded head covering and a face covered in glitter, although its metallic tone made it more alien than saintly.

Another highlight was the gown worn by the model Du Juan, which had a supernatur­al, very 3-D effect with the flower detailing appearing to grow like barely tamed weeds out in all directions from the dress.

“I liked the idea of the embroidery not on the dress but in the air surroundin­g the dress, like an aura, a vision,” Piccioli said. ■

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