The Valentino Fall 2011 Haute Couture collection looked more Givenchy than it did Valentino. Weighty and austere, there was an almost religious feel to the collection with its floor-sweeping capes, tapestry-like fabrics, and head coverings. Clearly, aside for a pop of red, the days of light-as-air ruffled Valentino dresses are gone but hey, at least this season did not include any neon.
Fall 2011 was in fact a vast improvement from anything that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have brought to Valentino in the past and despite a collection that felt repetitive at times, it appeared rich and luxurious and the medieval bend to the collection is an exciting new direction for the brand. Enhancing the runway looks were eyes dusted with gold, courtesy of Pat McGrath, and low-slung buns with loosened strands of hair, a look created by Guido Palau, both of which tied in beautifully with the religious medieval feel of the collection.
Beauty, luxe fabrications, and remarkable detailed embellishments aside, the collection made one thing clear, this couture season is seeing velvet emerge as a major trend. Fittingly, at Valentino it came red and laced.