Now playing: “Firefly” by Mura Masa
*MINOR GAME OF THRONES SEASON 5 SPOILER ALERT* (although, if you haven’t watched Season 5 yet, what are you doing?)
My first impression when I flicked through the snaps of Valentino’s AW15 Couture collection? Sansa Stark’s Game Of Thrones Season 5 transformation. The darkened hair, high-neck gowns and capes, the toughened attitude. Her vulnerable innocence changes when she goes from being held captive in King’s Landing, to being held hostage in her homeland, Winterfell. Memorably, she fiercely, gloweringly remarks: “I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can’t frighten me.”
Her strong sense of integrity she holds while being held captive in her own home somewhat mirrors Valentino’s most recent couture show. Holding the spectacle in the beating heart of what is often dubbed “The Eternal City”, the fashion house made use of its deep knowledge, passion and appreciation (after all, the brand itself was founded in Rome) of the Italian capital, naming the collection “Mirabilia Romae”, a medieval Latin text that served as a guide to the city of Rome. Its name perhaps echoes Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s intention to celebrate the city, and almost defend its authenticity and greatness with a certain ferocity in the form of their signature style, which should by now be familiar. Except this time, Chiuri and Piccioli add a dark, gothic twist.
The duo made an art of portraying the great city’s notoriety for centuries of globally influential art, architecture and culture. Dark and mystical, models were cloaked in heavy black and red velvet, as well as the usual sheer, sweeping black affair of chiffon and lace, skulking with a moody yet swan-like grace round the Piazza Mignanelli. One look was an uncanny reference to the dress of ancient Roman women, draped in a scarlet toga-dress.
Brooding and darkly ethereal, the Valentino girl this time was a gothic-era princess, or an ancient Roman priestess (if that’s even a thing? I’m going to make it thing). Each model was bedecked in gold headdresses that framed the hairline and Roman-style, amulet-like necklaces, referencing Rome’s importance as a centre of religion. High necklines added a sense of demure severity (again, it gave them that whole priestess look!!), while one-shouldered halter-necks maintained a more exotic femininity.
Other times, models were Roman goddesses lavishly adorned in gold – as ever, Chiuri and Piccioli spared no expenses with their passion for rich ornamentation. The eagle, a prominent symbol of Ancient Rome, made cameo appearances as a motif, first appearing clutching a red ribbon in its beak on the first dress of the show. Opening the show with blatant promise of true Roman legacy.
Overall, Mirabilia Romae was a wonderfully dark twist on Valentino’s often sweet, whimsical and delicate aesthetic, and an absolute treat to watch. Yep, I was there, at the live show. Just kidding. You can watch the live show here.
All images style.com