Best in Show: Valentino
You may have indicated that I’ve selected the more restrained looks from each collection, and you’d be right. You may have thought that my obvious choices for Best in Show would be Ami or Carven, and you’d be wrong; but not far off. While I adored the strong, simplistic pieces of Ami and Carven, I have to give the nod to Valentino. I wrestled with this idea for a bit. I found Ami and Carven to have beautiful, off-the-rack sales appeal. Without exaggeration, I would feel comfortable with all of Ami and 85% of Carven’s collections in my personal wardrobe. On the other hand, I was wildly pleased by Kris Van Assche’s offerings for Fall/Winter 2014. The clever distortion of pattern scales and proportions was the type of whimsy that I can admire. Don’t mock me – That’s my idea of whimsy, whereas others feel that whimsy entails feather boas, song lyric prints, and/or ornate headpieces.
What Valentino design duo, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have accomplished is a balancing act of refined tailoring with relaxed fits and monochromatic ensembles with colors & patterns. There was also the injection of modern urban youthfulness, but in very palpable doses; there were those cool, textured bucket hats and modern, minimal sneakers.
I really wanted to award Kris Van Assche top honors, but I think that would have just been trying to prove something to you. Ami and Carven – while they both appealed to my sensibilities – did not have the same creativity as Valentino.