New blood at Valentino

In 2007, Valentino tearfully stepped down as creative director from the helm of his company in the wake of a private equity takeover. The details are already making me feel a bit sleepy, so I'll leave it at saying it wasn't very pretty. Since that time, the label hasn't really been on my radar; the collections have gone through a bit of a gawky teenager stage, with a few designers cutting their teeth and finding their feet at the house. But now the Spring 2010 collection has debuted, and NOW I heart Valentino with all my heart. The collection, designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, is fresh and gorgeous and young and wonderful. Even though the pair has been designing for the label for a few seasons, I think they've finally stepped out from Valentino's shadow and found their own aesthetic. I'm so excited to see a new point of view from a house that was made famous with elegant hand-stitched gowns (every sequin, every seam sewn by the meticulous hands of a seamstress wielding her needle) in famous Valentino red, designed by a man who thinks an evening gown that shows a woman's ankles is vulgar.

The success of this new collection has put the label in the esteemed company of some of my usual favourites: Prada, Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs. Every season I die for my favourites. And now I die for Valentino too. That's a lot of dying.

There's a crumpled kind of beauty about this collection. It seems like the designers carelessly tossed the fabric around the models' bodies and it happened to fall just right in perfect swirls and bows. The shaggy-headed models all look so fantastically dishevelled and undone, like they've been running through the woods on a windy night. I guess what I love most about the collection is that the whole thing is really wearable. Nothing is absolutely nuts, and it's nice to see a collection that you could wear, piece for piece, right off the runway.

Behold the genius:

In real life, either the jacket or the skirt alone would be divine. Worn together, the look is a bit puffy and overdone for my liking.



This butter coloured swirl of silk is heavenly. It looks more like a giant flower than a dress, but I love how soft the colour and the shape are.




Sheer short suits? How awesome can you get?




Excuse me while I fall down stunned by how pretty this is. The pattern reminds me of Rorschach tests (OK fine, ink blot tests. I cheated and used Wikipedia to find the real name. How can anyone possibly remember how to spell Rorschach? How do you even say that?) This dress is such a simple, almost typical shape, but the beauty is all in the print of the fabric and the centre pleat.





The simple shape of this dress works well because it doesn't detract from the whorls of silk creeping over the skirt and up the bodice.



This dress makes the model look like she just dragged herself up onto the sand from a rough sea, and I mean that in the best possible way.



Knock me down, these shoes are gorgeous.