Not one hour after her finale wave on the runway, it was announced Alessandra Facchinetti would be leaving her post at the helm of Valentino. Ouch! It looks like two seasons is all the time designers have to prove themselves to the money guys these days.
Perhaps because too many members of the fashion crowd feared the rumors of her exit were true, or maybe it was the lack of an extravagant runway production, but the mood at Facchinetti’s final showing for the house of Valentino felt a bit subdued.
Understated, however, is not always a terrible thing in fashion. In fact, in this case, it was a breath of fresh air coming from a house known for it’s overly produced fashion extravaganzas.
The collection definitely had its high points in light-as-air-safari jackets, satin roped epaulettes, dramatic neckpieces, strong cuffs, and color saturated gowns paired with jewel-encrusted flats.
Since stepping in to fill the (admittedly big) shoes of retiring founder Valentino Garavani, Facchinetti made it her mission to bring a younger, more independent spirit to Valentino (one that was especially evident this season in jeweled, mesh fingerless gloves, cuffed city shorts, asymmetrical silhouettes and - again - those flats!). Overall the show was light, fresh and romantic – full of wearable pieces from a young woman designing for other young women.
One could argue that with a few more seasons under her belt Facchinetti could have elevated the houses’ ladies who lunch straight to ‘it’ girl status, much in the way Karl Lagerfeld has done at Chanel. Instead we’ll be watching as the label’s longtime accessories design team of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli take the reigns until a (second) “permanent” successor is most likely named later this year.
In the days of fast fashion and falling stock markets, it should come as no surprise that our designers are only as good as their latest handbag collection. And whether or not the board of directors’ spreadsheets will agree, this was a brave showing full of saleable, wearable pieces. – Christina Caldwell