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Article: Le Noir: The Last Valentino Runway by Pierpaolo Piccioli

Le Noir: The Last Valentino Runway by Pierpaolo Piccioli

"It's in darkness that I seek light."
Pierpaolo Piccioli


That's how Pierpaolo spoke behind the scenes of the Valentino runway with the proposal for fall and winter 2024. In a curious contrast to the Valentino Pink PP that tinted the industry for two years, as a brand known for its use of colour, the Valentino Le Noir runway unfolded as an exploration of the many dimensions of the colour black.

It seems that we've all experienced the phenomenon of combining two different black garments and thinking, "they're not the same colour." Well, yes and no. Accustomed to seeing it as a base colour, as an axis of contrasts, or as a way to highlight other vibrant tones, black is not just one colour. Its ability to absorb light means that, depending on materials, volumes, contours, silhouettes, dimensions, and lights, we perceive a multidimensionality often unexplored.

Until now.

"A rebellion against romanticism" 

Read the pages of VMagazine. And it could be said that they are right. Valentino, a brand known for its opulence and colour, is perhaps not the first brand we would associate with the absence of colours. Except this time, the creative director wanted to show us that black is neither uniform nor the absence of colour.

Black is a colour with a vast array of meanings. From elegance to hardship, black has always served to communicate quite unequivocally the state of a situation. For many, black is the colour of farewells, and it could be that Pierpaolo was bidding farewell to us without us realising it.

Shortly after his runway show, the creative announced his departure from Valentino after 25 years with the company. Having risen from in-house designer to creative director of the house, he had become the king of modern haute couture. This, his last runway show, takes on the dimension of a turning point, as if the ink from his pen had puddled the paper on which Pierpaolo wrote his universe.

An exploration of lights and shapes

Reinterpreting all the forms of Valentino is not an easy task. And if we think about doing it with the colour least associated with the brand to date, we have a challenge ahead of us. This time, the collection was inspired by the father of modern sculpture Constantin Brâncusi and his use of monochrome, as well as by contemporary artists Mark Rothko and Pierre Soulages (particularly the latter and his use of black in his own technique or Outrenoir).

For the creative director, it was clear: black is a multidimensional color. And so he managed to translate it into his creations for the Valentino Le Noir runway. Playing with lights and shadows, and reclaiming laser-cut lace from previous seasons, the transparencies and three-dimensionality of Valentino dresses made it seem like monochrome was non-existent.

"I wear black as a uniform, and I'm aware of it—it allows me to focus on my surroundings, and I just like it."

With these words, we are reminded with a certain serendipity of the multiple exits of Pierpaolo with his black uniform (sunglasses included).

Crafting spaces

The black colour of the collection was a point of rooting, an anchor in the exploration of the fall of light, shadows, and volumes so typical of Valentino's craftsmanship. Ruffles, flowers, embroideries, and lace, all served as a central point from which the ramifications of transparencies, details, silhouettes, and seasons could expand.

We associate jet black with shadows, but it's only through it that we know light. A day without night would not know stars, nor moon, nor galaxies and constellations. That's why the black colour remained as the only connecting element of the entire collection, in which models like Vittoria Ceretti, Luly Tenney, and Mona Tougaard walked in front of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Serena Williams, and Simone Ashley, showcasing the complexities, depths, dimensions, and hidden spaces behind black.

The ethereal rooted in the solemnity of the dark of the night.

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