Valentino Haute Couture Fall Winter 2023-2024 at Château de Chantilly “Simplicity Is Complexity Resolved” . Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photo Courtesy: Valentino.
The Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-2024 show took place in a mystical and metaphysical entity Château de Chantilly. Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli transformed the concept of a Château into an unanchored locale that transcended geographies and eras, symbolizing a celebration of beauty, uniqueness, and freedom. This show challenged preconceived notions of Haute Couture and revealed the paradoxes that lie within complexity.
The collection embraced the fundamental ideology of Couture, highlighting expertise, craftsmanship, and the power of individuality. The clothes exhibited contemporary sensibilities and modern realities, achieved through a process of reduction that paradoxically added meaning. The designs were remarkably simple, effortlessly following the body’s forms with streamlined silhouettes and precise seams. Fabrics were lightened, and memories of decoration were abstracted, resulting in minimalized maximalism—where heightened color created arabesques reminiscent of the baroque era.
A captivating interplay of movement and stillness was achieved through frozen draperies that captured the fabric in motion, creating a moment of reflection and contemplation. The collection placed humanity at its center, liberating movement with flat shoes and garments that flowed, allowing for individual expression and human emotion. Spontaneous gestures of extravagance emerged, such as the pretence of ermine and cascades of crystal jewels, evoking reminders of historical opulence. Conversely, the ordinary became exceptional, as t-shirts were transformed into ballgowns, and vintage Levi’s® 501 XX Big E jeans served as canvases for gilded embroidery. Denim itself was reinvented through intricate trompe l’oeil beadwork, demanding closer inspection to comprehend the craftsmanship and philosophy behind it. This approach pervaded the entire collection, offering a preciousness to everyday garments and embracing an egalitarian ethos that rejected hierarchy.
The tension between the Château de Chantilly environment and the figures within it explored the duality of transitioning from interior grandeur to the freedom of nature. The clothes symbolized this journey, reflecting the amplification of ideas within the “Un Château” arena—an open and inclusive space for all.
Valentino’s collaboration with La Réserve des Arts, a French non-profit association, further exemplified the brand’s commitment to circular creativity and giving back to local communities. The Maison’s partnership with La Réserve des Arts recovered sets, props, and elements from previous fashion shows, giving them new life and supporting a conscious narrative. By reconditioning part of the fashion show set-up, Valentino demonstrated its dedication to sustainability and the promotion of positive change in society.
In its third chapter, the partnership between Valentino and La Réserve des Arts beautifully merged ethics and aesthetics, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and the transformational power of art. The show’s seats were also repurposed from previous events, showcasing the brand’s commitment to resource reuse and sustainability.
Overall, the Valentino Haute Couture Fall Winter 2023-2024 show was a testament to the brand’s ability to infuse simplicity with complexity, resulting in a collection that celebrated individuality, challenged conventions, and showcased the transformative power of fashion.