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Monday Muse: Romance Inspires Valentino Couture Spring 2015

Valentino Couture Spring 2015

Love is in the air. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are known for their modern take on amore at Valentino, but for the label’s latest couture collection, they put love and romance at the forefront.  Their inspiration board was overflowing with love poems, Shakespearean sonnets and excerpts from Dante’s Inferno. The resuls? A collection of dresses that would look perfect for a day in Verona, soaking up the romance of the Bard and celebrating the craftsmanship and handiwork of the Valentino atelier.

Valentino Couture Spring 2015

One of the hallmarks of Valentino — and of Valentino couture especially — is the attention to detail. Last season, the designers showed off the ability of the workshop, embroidering cosmic designs on light-as-air silks that looked nearly translucent. This time around, the designers took those quotes from Dante and lines from Shakespeare’s love poems and placed them along the hems of floor-grazing gowns. Fabrics looked simple enough from afar, but upon closer inspection, there were burnouts woven right in, creating the illusion of mille-feuille, floating clouds, rainbows or rolling waves.

There were plenty of peasant dresses, lined with embroidery or simply embellished with Latin and Italian bon mots. Lightness was another theme, both in the airiness of the skirts and in motifs such as kites and clouds.

Another touchstone that the designers mentioned was Marc Chagall, and his romantic images of pastoral villages, tiered-skirted women and almost listless, bucolic life were illustrated as models floated by in sheer skirts and long vests embroidered with scrolls, leather flowers and beads.

Valentino Couture Spring 2015

It wasn’t just dresses, though a velvet wing-bodice gown will surely see a red carpet. There were caftans and separates that took the collection out of the realm of fantasy, especially when they featured humble fabrics such as linen and burlap.

Since taking the helm of Valentino, Chiuri and Piccioli have been carving out their identity at the brand, brining a luxurious austerity to the line and moving away from the Dolce Vita glam of its former designer. And with this lovely collection, they showed that over-the-top glamour isn’t the only way to catch the attention of a flashbulb. One real surprise? While there were red dresses, Monsieur Valentino’s signature hue was softened in velvet and not a one had a va-va-voom siren silhouette. And with that, the duo at Valentino have floated away on with their own unique ethos.

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Monday Muse: Louis Vuitton’s Palm Springs Sojourn

Louis Vuitton Resort 2016

15 years ago, Nicolas Ghesquiere saw the Bob Hope estate in Palm Springs. It’s taken him a decade and a half to finally show a collection in the storied home, which was designed by super star-chitect John Lautner. With his futuristic leanings and avant-garde pedigree, it’s a surprise it’s taken the super star designer this long, but with over 800 rooms booked in the desert oasis and a cadre of editors, models, superstars and luxury clients all ready to feast their eyes on the latest resort collection, Louis Vuitton took center stage under the building’s iconic curves.

Far-flung locales are no surprise during resort season. Raf Simons has showed in Monaco (and will show at Pierre Cardin’s South of France home this season) and Karl Lagerfeld has chosen Dubai, Venice and more for Chanel’s outrageous presentations. But Palm Springs? It’s a city known for bohemian bacchanals and bronzed skin, not high fashion. Ghesquiere’s collection changed that, with a directional collection that you’re sure to find contemporary labels and fast fashion lines scrambling to copy.

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2016

Like his A-line minis and tiny bags, this collection will have plenty for other designers to riff on.

Just a hint of midriff was on show, a more demure take on fashion’s obsession with the crop top. Motocross jackets blended leather, canvas, suede and even scuba €” sometimes all in one. It was a feast of materials, craftsmanship and real fashion, especially when models came out in paisleys, distressed leathers and more. Croc embossing was on show, too, giving the already-luxe looks an even more expensive feel. Even the tried-and-true LV logos got a refresh. While some lines are shying away from house emblems, a few are embracing them whole-heartedly (Donatella never misses an opportunity to showcase the Medusa). Vuitton’s floral motif was embossed super-sized on a column and imprinted in to snakeskin. Models even wore leather rings featuring the clover design sprinkled between those storied initials.

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2016

Dresses were paired with over-the-top sneakers and there was a feel of futurism (as is the norm with Ghesquiere’s work), but it was all very grounded in the handwork and tradition of Vuitton. Some designers find taking the helm of a heritage brand a burden, but after just a year or so, Ghesquiere has shown that he’s comfortable blending his point of view with that of Vuitton’s.