Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli showcased a collection with a distinct African vibe for Valentino Spring/Summer 16. But this wasn't some random inspiration either because it was a collection that had an underlying message, and a political one at that: it had to do with the backlash coming from the humanitarian crisis pertaining to Italy's influx of African refugees over the course of the last year. Chiuri takes advantage of her ability to articulate this as a fashion designer: “We probably feel that the greatest privilege in doing our work is that fashion can give a message ... We think every person coming here is an individual, and we can show that we can improve ourselves by understanding other cultures.” Co-designer Piccioli adds that “[t]he message is tolerance. And the beauty that comes out of cross-cultural expression.”
The result was a collection that was a harmonious marriage between Valentino's meticulous couture-like beading and embroidery-work and the use of luxurious fabrics, with an unmistakably African twist - tribal feathered neckpieces, with shells or "teeth", peacock feather-like trims on the shoulders sleeves and cuffs, fringe, and the tie-dye motif.
When it came to the bags, whether it was a geometric print that was embellished with studs or stone-like studs, the guitar African tribal embroidery on the bags' detachable shoulder straps, the printed safari animals, striped beaded trimmings on the handles on bags or as strips on the "My Rockstud" bag that were reminiscent of the colourful striped bodily decorations usually worn on the Masai tribe member's necks, beaded and feathered embellishments on the "Glam Lock", or even the mini African mask embellished bags, the African influences that were carried clearly throughout the collection.
Images via Vogue Runway