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Valentino Womenswear S/S12

Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri continue their successful instillation of their modern light touch at Valentino

The season's feminine dreaminess and wafting sense of romance would not have escaped designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri at Valentino.  They've become a deft hand at articulating femininity and beauty for the modern age with Valentino regaining its verve after the middling hiccups between Mr Valentino's departure and Piccioli and Chiuri's appointment.  They do better once again with a collection that began with cotton lace dresses, brought down to earth with flat sandals for the younger customer that doesn't want to be tied to conventions of prim and properness.  Paper-thin leather with lace-patterning adds further edge and textural contrast especially when used in a black maxi skirt paired with a chiffon blouse. 

Valentino red of course rears its head but it's the colours of candy pink, pistachio green and cornflower blue that carried the simple halter-neck dresses and soft-balloon sleeved mini dresses.  Chantilly lace was particularly used effectively as loose cape-like shirts where the denser parts of the lace covered up a woman's modesty leaving other areas of flesh, sheer and exposed.  When the passage of inevitable evening/red carpet frocks came on a dusting of floral applique came into the fold and along with the lace might have crushed us with its feminine overkill but instead Piccioli and Chiuri's light touch was evidence that their dreamy fantasy was not a whimsical one.  Instead, the audience left marvelling at the collection's pure beauty.