While watching Valentino a/w 2015 collection one can’t really avoid but thinking “absolutely beautiful. Some of this pieces are not just clothes, it’s art.” And this is the case in which you wouldn’t be that wrong. Maria Grazia Chiuri e Pierpaolo Piccioli took some serious inspiration from art this season, in particular they “stole” a bit of their magic from Gustav Klimt portraits of Emilie Flöge, the artist life companion and artistic muse.

It is beautiful to see how the designers recalled Klimt ART by using golden embroidery in their evening gowns, inspired by “the golden age” works,

geometrical patchwork in black and white used on everyday dresses to pay an homage to lady Flöge herself,

and a color palette which could just be taken out from Klimt canvas.

The ways that art influences fashion are so interesting. It’s a collaboration of creative minds, a merge between past and present sensibility which generates something unique and modern even if old.

Talking about Klimt in particular we need to go a little bit deeper: He was a revolutionary artist and during his life he was always an innovator. Klimt founded the Secession Viennese in 1897, a movement meant to break the conservatism of Vienna Society of Visual Artists, his goal was to open and renew art by bringing avant-garde to the city and exposing young foreigner artists works . Being a symbolist he believed that art should reflect an emotion or idea rather than represent the natural world in an objective manner and he had a deep fascination with both the productive and destructive forces of female sexuality.

Women were his main interest and erotism his favorite subject :when Freud became famous in Vienna and his “three essays on the theory of sexuality”came out, Klimt

decided to bring the same idea of celebration of sexuality into his art, a very brave decision that was not well received by the society but that gave birth to Klimt masterpiece “the Kiss”.

Klimt's highly ornamental style reveals as well a close connection between Symbolism and parallel movements in the decorative arts such as Art Nouveau. It is this same sensuality, the modernity of Klimt portraits in which the viewer is directly confronted by the gaze and the nudity of the models, the art nouveau influence that led to his use of color and highly garnished prints, the gold and jewel tones mosaics, are the reason why Klimt was and he’s always going to be a very powerful source of inspiration for fashion designers.

We saw his work taken to the runway by Dior,Alexander Mc Queen and hermes just to name a few.

The Clear references to “the kiss”,”,”the hope”, or “Judith” into our days fashion shows makes me think about a quote of Schiller which Klimt included in is painting “Nuda Veritas”: “ If you can’t please everybody with your deeds and your art please only few”. Fashion transformed art from something which was appreciated just from a small group of people into something that is actually under everybody's eyes, everyday, every time: clothes. Such amazing commercialization of art is beneficial for both designer and artists, New ones and past ones. Overall though this combination of amazing ideas is really beneficial to someone else: consumers. Indeed life is too short to wear boring clothes.

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We saw them literally everywhere: adding movement to long evening gowns, everyday skirts, jackets, trousers and bags, fringes are one of the biggest trends for this spring/summer 2016. It was a couple of seasons ago that they came back on the runway and they are definitely going to be popular for a while.

we can start from Valentino that used them to add a tribal vibe to his gowns in a beautiful mix of softer fringes, almost as light as feathers, that embellished sleeves and necks on the evening dresses to resemble african costumes, and thicker leather ones that gave rhythm to his mini-skirts.

Sonia Rynkel and Masha Ma used leather fringes as well to give a sexy, rock n roll vibe to their skirts.

Alexander Mc Queen, Givenchy and Nina Ricci used small fringes to create a very glamourous 1920’s inspired look in their evening dresses

while Diane Von Fustenberg, Issey Miyake and Loewe used the fringes to make some everyday outfits more interesting.

Balenciaga put some fringes on a white leather bag and Paco Rabanne used very tiny fringes on the sides of trousers and jumpsuits in a very western way.

Fringes are not an innovation though, in fact their history in fashion is quite long. First appeared on women’s dresses during the roaring ‘20s, fringes were meant to give a little more coverage to the dancing legs of the flapper girls as well as enhance their gestures while they moved at the quick rhythm of charleston. Delicate and beaded fringes were the signature style for hollywood actresses as they added a special touch to the black and white movies by reflecting light as the stars moved.

Even before the 20s fringes were a very popular embellishment in the native american culture. they used leather stripes at the end of the clothes to repel water and as well again to move with them while they were dancing in their tribal rituals.

During the late 60s and 70’s first the western and then the hippie movement started paying more attention to the oppressed minority groups rights an for that reason they started using fringes in clothes to show their sympathy for the native americans cause. Cher & Jimi Hendrix walked the stage in fringing clothes.

in the 50s fringes were everywhere after Elvis Presley wore a fringed leather jacket: they became an iconic rock & roll look.

in the 80s they became a performance on stage typical look and stars like Tina Turner wore fringed costumes during their concerts.

fringing trend has got a long tradition in fashion and i believe is going to stay with us for a long time in the future.

it is not just an heritage reason that push designers to use fringes though, even if revivals are completely normal in fashion history (by the end of the 60s all the possible clothing shapes were already been discovered).

I think that this trend, which bubbled up on the catwalk long time ago, has been used in so many different ways but always with one common purpose: give Movement.

Fringes move along with human bodies and for that reason they embellish any clothing piece. 

they enhance any cut or silhouette and they add some personality, but, most important thing, they catch attention.

and which designer doesn’t want his creation to be noticed?   



  • “If you open your eyes you can improve your point of view and you can learn something new” said Maria Grazia Chiuri while talking about her and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest spring/summer 2016 ready to wear collection, and it is really clear to see what she meant: peacock feathers, animal patterns, tribal embroidery and exquisitely painted and studded leather are all refenences to the designers source of inspiration for this season: Africa.

The artistic duo successfully managed to bring a social issue on the catwalk and give their contribution to the immigration cause that has been such a huge problem this year. So many people from Africa are afflicted by war and poor economy and they need to leave their country in order to have at least the hope for a better future.

“We probably feel that the greatest privilege in doing our work is that fashion can give a message,”

said Chiuri and their message today is Tolerance and “the beauty that comes out of cross-cultural expression.”

In the collection we see so many elements of the classical latin culture that was always such an inspiration for Valentino, re interpreted and mixed with african symbols, an unbelievable innovation for the Roman house.

The Designers took the risk to do something that Valentino himself never did. He was formed as a designer in Paris during Dior “kingdom” and his aim was beauty.

The quality of his dresses, amazingly sketched by pencil,

the gentle silhouette that enhanced women body,

the superb craftsmanship of “le ragazze” at his italian atelier

and his use of primal colours such as black, white, and of course, red

are the keys for his durable success and his superstar clientele.

“I’m not a revolutionary designer but I’m innovative and always try to dress my women with new ideas”

said Valentino, and according to Suzie Menkes” Valentino never mirrored the times he lived in”.

Such a brave decision then to take for the new designers , to get so far from the mind that ruled their brand for 45 years. But fashion needs new ideas and the social media made the runway so accessible and popular these days that is worth to try to use its art, beauty and design to communicate positive messages and attempt to do something to make the world a better place.

In my opinion this collection includes all of Valentino amazing heritage: the impalpable materials that move with the models, the classical silhouette with a latin languor, the astonishing decoration and embroidery,the design so respectful of women body are so evident but yet gracefully transformed into something new.

Gladiator’s sandals are embellished with carved ebony heels, white ceramic jewelry resembles traditional teeth necklaces, the Roman leather stripes are embellished with studs in a Masai-like intricate pattern and the color palette screams african landscape.

“This is the time to see the integration of different cultures, to create new balances between our safe aesthetic and crossing a new culture” said Piccioli and our everyday more connected global community agrees with him.