Fall 2012 Couture: Valentino darkens romance, elegance
Posted by on July 8, 2012 | 1:04 pm EST

Dark, moody and somber. Those three words are far from what we would normally associate with the romance that thrives within the realms of the Valentino fashion house. However, such were the words that ran wild in our minds when the luxury label’s haute couture show in Paris began. Romance was still the prevailing thought, but for this season, Valentino veiled the idea in a luxurious play in the dark.

A sweeping dark blue gown kicked off the runway show, which seemingly continued Valentino’s ready-to-wear inspirations, with panels and sheer cut into one big and dizzying maze. The somber tones transitioned into glitzy black ensembles, though some pieces also saw the two moody shades collide. One two-tone dress stunned as it brought old-world elegance and modern tailoring together as the black fabric dipped from the shoulder to the hemline, leaving a delightful visual detail. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli embraced the depth of these colors even further, as exemplified by an all-blue number that paired a matte coat and shiny satin dress to underline the high-fashion allure of well-executed fabric contrast.

Similar to how the sun becomes a beacon of life after a week-long storm, the emergence of the label’s prevailing details—stunning lace work and lovely floral prints—on cocktail dresses breathed life into the collection that began in the dark. The color palette also began exploring a sense of lightness. The mood climbed upwards as breathtaking nude chiffons collided with ethereal floral prints, and sophisticated skirts were paired with intricately beaded jackets. Together with the astonishing attention to details, the silhouettes were decidedly conservative and simple as almost all dresses had long sleeves and a high neckline.

While there was unmistakable drama with how each gown was finished, there’s also a hint of modesty as they opted for a standout-yet-subtle embellishment for each garment. A long-sleeved ball gown in a captivating midnight blue shade for instance, evoked a sense of introverted elegance as it relied on black lace-like details to set it off.

An array of vivid yellow dresses and romantic pinks may have upped the ante, but it was look 38—a ravishing red gown with pleats gathering on the waist and thigh-high ruffle details on the hem—that reminded us that we were truly at a Valentino show. The label may have chosen a quieter path towards evening elegance with their couture collection for Fall, but such tricks are commendable. How often do we see a Valentino show that’s bursting in the seams with its greater attention to blues, violets and blacks?

Photos from iMAXtree.com/Alessandro Lucioni

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