Valentino Spring/Summer 2024 menswear collection stands as a beacon of change, challenging the traditional notions of masculinity and power. Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative force behind the brand, has once again demonstrated his unique ability to blend artistry with social commentary, creating a collection that is not only visually stunning but also deeply meaningful.
The collection, aptly named “The Narratives”, was unveiled at Milan Fashion Week Men’s, marking a return to the city where Valentino Garavani himself presented his first men’s collection in 1985. The show was staged in the garden of La Statale, Milan’s public university, on a regular school day, a deliberate choice by Piccioli to make fashion more accessible to younger audiences and to break away from the elitism often associated with high fashion.
Piccioli’s collection is a thoughtful exploration of masculine identity, challenging the traditional signifiers of power and success that have long defined men’s fashion. “True power and strength are about the freedom to show your own fragility and sensitivity”, Piccioli stated at a post-show press conference. This sentiment is beautifully reflected in the collection, where classic masculine tropes are subtly subverted through a gentle approach.
The collection features softened proportions of boxy blazers, trousers replaced with short shorts and skirts, and flowers embroidered on lapels or printed on breezy light jackets and straight-cut shirts. The color palette is a testament to Piccioli’s artistic flair, with mint green, raspberry, turquoise, and hot pink alternating with black and white, emphasizing a sense of individual vitality and an attitude of romantic freedom.
The influence of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel, “A Little Life”, is also evident in the collection. The book’s themes of vulnerability and resilience among its male characters resonated with Piccioli, leading him to incorporate quotes from the novel into the designs. This literary influence adds another layer of depth to the collection, further challenging the traditional notions of masculinity.
But the collection is more than just a fashion statement. Piccioli believes that his duty as a designer extends beyond creating beautiful clothes; he also wants to make a meaningful impact on a deeper level. This is why the show was staged at La Statale University, a powerful activator of education and knowledge. Valentino will sponsor student scholarships through a substantial donation to the university, and the materials used in the runway show will be repurposed and recycled in partnership with Milan’s Spazio META. An oak tree will also be planted in Milan’s public gardens of Porta Venezia, symbolizing the brand’s commitment to sustainable practices.