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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Valentino: Dance Of Delicacy

Capturing a beautiful moment as Paris shows reach a crescendo

16 Марта 2016

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Was it the tinkling notes of Philip Glass played live on a grand piano that made Valentino's dance of delicacy seem so exceptional? As each model moved gracefully forward, back straight, body held in a dancer's position wearing a simple, neutral-coloured dress, it seemed like the start of a story.

These were surely ballerinas, living their lives, poised and delicate in dresses illuminated by the light; or going home from the dance theatre, wearing big, ribbed sweaters under sparking dresses. “We wanted to live together in a moment - it is not just about an object,” said Maria Grazia Chiuri, while her design partner Pierpaolo Piccioli added: “If fashion is a culture, it is not about just clothes, we have to deliver emotion in the dresses”.

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Backstage, Giancarlo Giammetti, the original Valentino Garavani partner, hugged the duo saying in Italian: “incredible”. While Dakota Fanning, in a fairy-light dress with dragon embroidery, expressed what everyone was feeling: “so emotional”. Could there really be such deep feeling about clothes, on the penultimate day of the five-week international fashion shows?

The Valentino duo's skill is to take a subject — this time the history of expressive modern dance - and move its spirit into clothes that are delicate but in no way costumes. The show opened with black tailoring - a smart coat or a plain dress, with a portrait neckline and purposeful black boots. Our dancer (or any other modern woman) is striding off to work. For her to change from working girl to ballerina was a slow burn.

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

First came a loosely cut skirt studded with crystal; or a plain, straight skirt with a white shirt hanging loose under a cropped jacket. Then as the music switched between Phillip Glass and John Cage, a dress became a short black tutu or a neutral shade falling from soft bust to loose hem. Cue for pale shoes with ballet-slipper ribbons.

The move toward an enhanced reality was so seamlessly achieved that in no time a pale fur coat was patterned as if the Ballet Russes had met Russian constructivism. Sunshine yellow then glowed magically out of a golden velvet dress. But instead of the show turning into a fancy parade, back would come a coat, or a skirt covered by a thick sweater.

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Performance over. Time to stride home. This gentle move between reality and realism was as delicate as the way the clothes were made in Valentino's inimitable Roman studios. A fur cape of pastel squares or a soft dress with beige feathers - both were an example of craftsmanship touched with artistic magic.

из
Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Valentino, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


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