And just like that, boom! Everything changed. Last March, Pierpaolo Piccioli sent out a Valentino collection that included a 48-look homage to the power of fuchsia, and the audience at his show today had clearly got the memo and dressed accordingly. Just about everywhere you looked, that color reigned supreme on clients and celebs alike, though none looked as major in it (and I will brook no argument on this) as Erykah Badu, who worked it from the tip of her towering stovepipe hat to the trailing hem of her feathered coat. (Even more major: The way Ms. Badu adorably bobbed up and down in her seat, phone in hand, primed to film Piccioli’s appearance on the runway at the end of his show the minute he popped out from backstage.)
So there was every eye in the room training itself on Piccioli’s opening salvo for next spring, and what did we get? No more Think Pink, that’s for sure. Instead, a caped dress in the palest of beiges that was graphically emblazoned with the house’s V logo. The marque was over absolutely everything, including the gloved bodysuit worn under the dress (silky knit body-suiting, designed to counteract the diaphanous nature of his fabrics and make women feel more comfortable about wearing such gauzy materials, was a constant refrain here). It was even painted across the model’s face, an incredible effect courtesy of the deft hand (and ceaseless imagination) of Pat McGrath.
That was just the start. Piccoli focused his look on mostly beautifully cut flowing, undulating dresses, short or long, some scissored away at the waist (inspired by the slashed canvases of artist Lucio Fontana) and soft suiting that was androgynous with or without the feathery trims, in myriad shades of ivory, beige and brown, his celebration of the beauty of every skin tone. During the course of the show, he started to introduce bright saturated colors as a contrast—electric blue, acid green, emerald green—which looked at their most dazzling when deployed for the dream-it-and-we-can-make-it technical marvel of his pleated sequin pieces, such as a shrug it on coat, or a sweeping floor-length backless evening dress. (How often does one see pleated sequins, particularly when the folds run on the bias? Like, never. Difficult to do doesn’t even begin to describe it.)