FOLLOWING on from their couture collection, which channelled the Pre-Raphaelites, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a collection that took its cue from the 18th century tradition of the Grand Tour, a trip taken by young Europeans to explore the art, culture and traditions of Italy. Rome and all-out classicism, views, ruins, and souvenirs were all tapped, even, right down to a soundtrack that felt like a tourist board melody and a palette that in parts looked to be informed by Neopolitan ice-cream – a fluttery sheer silk dress floated its way around the body in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate stripes.
It was romantic, artisanal and all out beautiful – from the simplicity of those double linen coats and backless pinafores, to the overwhelming intricacies of their eveningwear (as usual, it was one look more breathtaking than the next). Gowns were embroidered in wispy gold starfish, or watery seascapes, elsewhere, they came heavily encrusted with feathers, bugle beads and embroideries and shuffled barely an inch off the floor (a Valentino hemline is a thing of absolute precision and perfection).
What is perhaps even more remarkable than all that finery, and that extreme level of craftsmanship – which it’s no exaggeration to say is comparable to couture – is that these clothes are imbued with such a sunny youthfulness, everything is apparently so effortless to wear. Those scarf print silk jumpsuits and devastatingly pretty white eyelet lace dresses and skirts are the sort of summer pieces one could happily slip into in five seconds flat – and go anywhere.
It was all anchored with flat knee-high gladiator sandals – ideal for exploring the ruins, perhaps – some boasted dangling charms that looked like they had been picked up while browsing bazaars. Half-up, half-down hair was intertwined with precious gold marine trinkets such as seashells and starfish. Spectacular.