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.

Valentino’s Subversively Elegant Couture

Godfrey Deeny
January 27th, 2011 @ 00:06 AM - Paris

Valentino’s latest haute couture collection was all about empowerment, allowing women to be ladylike yet physically revealing, sophisticated yet ever so seditious.

Presented Wednesday evening, Jan. 26, in the Solomon Rothschild mansion of central Paris, this spring collection 2011 was hyper chic – cascades of ivory crepe created to-the-floor dresses and twists of gazar silk were fashioned into slim cocktail looks. Yet, thanks to the racy cuts, semi-transparency and generally see-through finish the clothes packed visceral punch.

“To be elegant today you have to be a little subversive. True modern beauty should be a little dangerous,” argued Pier Paolo Piccioli, after he and design partner Maria Grazia Chiuri had taken their bow, heavily applauded as they marched along the twisting gold parquet runway rambling through three rooms and several passageways.

Sedition was clearly in evidence on the huge mood board that hung backstage, itself a revealing act, as most designers keep these panels secretively hidden in their offices. Amongst the images were Charlotte Rampling in a come-hither bedroom pose and several nudes shot by David Bailey from the permissive ‘60s.

The collection may well have opened in opaque pristine whites and ivories, but as the show unfurled, few looks failed to reveal some flesh. Over all, the deep gorge cuts of summer lunchtime dresses and exposed acres of flesh in the collection were somehow lady-like yet racy.

Each January, Paris haute couture week takes place almost exactly one month before the Oscars are awarded in Los Angeles. Which means, given the mega actresses' need for a unique look for the Academy Awards red carpet, the Paris shows are partly a dress rehearsal for the movie industry’s biggest night.

At first sight, Valentino’s subversive chic may not seem the obvious candidate for a nominee. But we suspect that by simply adding in the odd slip - and canceling the semi-sheer effect - this collection might be the big winner in the Kodak Theater on February 27. You have been warned.

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