The Valentino Spring 2016 collection focused on Africa in an effort to explore a source of rich visual and cultural context other than Rome.
“After Roma we really felt that we had to let our eyes travel somewhere else,” said Piccioli before the show, “This is the time to see the integration of different cultures, to create new balances between our safe aesthetic and crossing a new culture.”
There were colorful patchworks, both folkloric and modern. Tribal embroideries were worked up and down sleeves and collars of day dresses. Two gowns in blush tulle were delicately embroidered with white tribal markings and trimmed in majestic ivory feathers around the collars and cuffs.
The collection featured more robust daywear options with athletic military jackets and cargo pants worn with backless fringed knits. Leather worked on the woven mesh dresses was suspended from etched harnesslike tops, carved corsets were layered over printed dresses and a maxiskirt was cut in vertical strips over studded leather and layered over a black lace dress.
Africa gave the collection something vivid, glamorized by statement pieces of oversize tribal jewelry. Yet the familiar dress shapes — shifts and slender columns with simple high necks, many with straight, long sleeves — retained the heritage feel of the Valentino brand.