Thursday 9 July 2009

Valentino design team takes two-tone approach to catwalk

Fashion house Valentino brought the curtain down on Wednesday night (July 8) as a three-day showcase of the latest haute couture collections came to a close.
The label's new design team raised hemlines and offered tulle and lace designs aimed to seduce its clients.

The pairing of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli put personal touches on their creations that stayed true to the Valentino name but also pushed the look into the future.

Nude and black bustiers were paired with lace in a collection that was mostly two-toned, with the exception of some designs that offered a silvery sparkle.

Gowns were floor-length, but kept sex appeal with bustier and corset details.

Many models also accessorised their look with lace masks, giving the show an air of a Venetian carnival.

But this haute couture season has not been the same party it has been in the past as financial woes forced even the world's most extravagant fashion scene to face economic reality.

Sequinned gowns and billowing trains spoke of luxury, but backstage the talk was of cash-strapped Americans and crisis-hit Lacroix, whose fashion house is under creditor protection and struggling to find a buyer.

Even British designer John Galliano, who in January defied the economic crisis with opulent silk gowns, showed a simpler collection featuring tulle skirts with corsets and lace dresses for Dior.

Big labels including Chanel and Giorgio Armani used haute couture as a launch pad to sell more profitable perfumes and accessories.

Even in tough economic times, U.S. socialites, Asian tycoons and Middle Eastern royals in search of wedding dresses have kept a small number of haute couture houses and their Parisian workshops afloat.

But the fate of Lacroix, whose fairytale displays of embroidered silks and bubble dresses used to be one of the highlights of the Paris shows, has undoubtedly cast a shadow over this season.


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