An eagle, a symbol of imperial Rome, clutched a red ribbon in its beak on the collection's first dress. It was the same bird that contractors found on the ceiling of the house's Roman atelier during its recent renovation. What a metaphor. There were ancient symbols all over the collection, from the wheat stalks on a golden lace dress to the griffin embroidery on a floor-length poncho. But you didn't need to be a historian to appreciate just how ravishing it all was, or to feel the connection between the couturiers and this city. By the time Chiuri and Piccioli rounded the wooden set on their victory lap, the whole crowd had stood for an ovation.
“We wanted to show people Rome through our eyes. The layers and layers of history which can exist even in one place, where ancient temples lie beneath buildings which have been used for centuries, even till today,” said Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. The symbolism of the Valentino
couture show, staged in the open air on a balmy evening in Rome, was almost epic in its scale and depth of emotion.
The new Valentino store, was a technically sensational, poetic collection, all of it eveningwear and mostly in black. It had solemnity and dignity—something almost ritualistic in the way the designers worked through the subject of thinking about their home city, and the house founded by Valentino Garavani, the retired maestro of couture who was there, watching from front row and center.