Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli does an about face in Paris.
A healthy dose of competition can be a good thing, and may be why designer Pierpaolo Piccioli did a complete about face and reinvigorated Valentino men’s for Spring with a largely hip-hop, streetwear-inspired collection showed Wednesday at Paris Men's Fashion Week.
The competition of course is streetwear designer Virgil Abloh whose debut at Louis Vuitton on Thursday has fashion buzzing. But for Piccioli, this is actually familar territory, since he based his women’s Resort 2018 collection on the short-lived Netflix show produced by Baz Lurhmann The Get Down, a sleeper hit that proves ample inspiration for many.
Piccioli didn't stick in the '70’s version of the style but took it to the 1990’s and early Aughts when logos, head-to-toe matching patterns in oversized silhouettes and bucket hats reigned.
He turned a few old standbys on their head. For instance, on pants, a trench and the rare tailored jacket, a camo print was covered in a repeating diamond shape made from the VLTN logo. And the entire name "Valentino" was stretched and resized in graduating letters across the front of a camo parka and knit sweater to further fuel fashion's logo-mania.
But the military staple was not the only print in the room – house retro link patterns, loud florals and an interlocking V-pattern covered pajama-style tops, bombers, retro-Dad windbreakers and tracksuits. The bucket hats worn with almost every look came in matching prints, crochet styles and covered in feathers, another strong message of the collection.
In fact, tropical and exotic birds were embroidered on everything from the back of a bomber to leather fanny packs and were exceptional when shown as richly embroidered parrot wings on the shoulder of a gray sweatshirt or trench coat. The embroideries have always been a strength for Pierpaolo at the house.
In the front row were some of the NBA’s current pretty birds; Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony of Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden from the Houston Rockets, alongside rappers A$AP Ferg and Nas.
Prior to the show, A$AP Ferg said he was impressed to find himself front and center on the designer’s mood board during a pre-show sneak peek meeting. The Harlem-bred rapper passed on the clothes supplied by the press team and instead headed over to the boutique to choose the sports-uniform yellow Valentino leisure suit he was wearing, adding “Not many people can look good in this color yellow but I pull it off.”
Apparently, the Italian couturier isn’t the only designer to be inspired by the hip hop artist. Ferg, who was sporting a removable diamond grill (“I change them like I change my T-shirt," he quipped) was also sporting a Tiffany T-bar bracelet recently acquired through his work with Tiffany’s Creative Director Reed Krakoff with whom he plans to do more collaborating with this summer.
The rapper Nas was decked out in one of Valentino's pajama-style logo shirts and a massive diamond pendant from the 90’s he recently had reworked.
He told The Hollywood Reporter of his inaugural Valentino show, ‘It was even better than I anticipated.” Obviously, the inspiration was not lost on Nas, who added, “It was the streets all day and that’s cool. He’s really dialed in to what is really happening and the spirit in it.”
Considering the pendant was emblazed with QB for Queens Bridge Houses, the endorsement couldn’t get more authentic than that.