“Couture is alive, and so is the dream”

So says Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director at Valentino, who on 21 July, in Rome, presented the 20/21 Haute Couture collection to the tune of FKA Twigs, telling us about the close bond between reality and dream.

The dream of narrating the values of Couture in an exciting way with a collection that also represents fashion’s return to real life, and which, thanks to digitalisation, can have a dialogue with the human being.

The show opens with models floating in a dark void, sitting on swings and trapezes that take them ever higher and higher. The extremely long dresses are all white: a symbol of a new beginning, of infinite possibilities, of the canvas of an era that is going to be redesigned. They come to life thanks to a play of lights, sounds and colours, staged by the artist Nick Knight, who shapes the purity of the creations with moving images of flowers in bloom.

Valentino. Courtesy of

The “tableau vivant” encompasses 15 enchanting creations, precious fabrics with a refined look.

Taffeta dresses, with huge puffed sleeves and deep necklines, micro-ruffles (over 300 metres) entwined around a maxi-volume skirt that gives a glimpse of a sheath dress of silvery sequins, with chiffon for long floating trains, a hood with a fringe all round and shiny sequins, a coat that alternates layers of transparent fabric with soft feathers, and finally, the dress with origami-like bodice that reminds one of a corolla of petals, worn by supermodel Mariacarla Boscono.

Valentino. Courtesy of

The collection, born in a time of difficulty, is – as Piccioli says – ‘marked by the sense of the limit, but to overcome this limit is to enhance what it is to be human’. And thanks to the magnificent spectacle it was possible to celebrate the work of the ‘petites mains’ and the mastery of the workshop.

A tribute to the craftsmanship and hard work of his team, and also from Maria Grazia Chiuri, who has chosen the region of Puglia – the land of her origins – for the 2021 Cruise show by Dior.

The collection is inspired by the beauties of Salento, a journey through her roots, a choral work that exalts the values and the future of an exceptional art.

The traditional lights of village festivals mark out the perimeter of the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce to host the parade/event that welcomed very few guests (including the Ferragmi/Fedez duo) and which was broadcast by streaming. To the strains of the ‘pizzica’, a popular dance of the region, the 45 models with diaphanous faces paraded alongside a group of dancers with eyes highlighted with bistre, and dressed in black in a tragic and thrilling contrast.

The colours of the collection are reminiscent of the area, such as the green of the Mediterranean hedgerows, the red of the flowers and cherries, the whites and écru shades of skies heavy in the summer heat.

Dior. Courtesy of

Pinafores, leather bustiers, woollen waistcoats, plaid-style fringed skirts, poppy prints and embroidery, cornflowers and wheat ears. Kerchiefs worn on the head and open sandals or local-made low-heeled boots.

Dior. Courtesy of


And then again, and above all, roses embroidered with bobbin lace or handmade fabrics from the loom of Le Constantine Foundation, which supports the local women who produce the fabrics.

Dior. Courtesy of

It is a hymn to the work of all the artisans, to traditions, to origins, a clarion call to rise up again after a period of suffering to arrive at a brighter future.

By Elisa Nascimbene for Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week