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Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Oct 19, 2016
Reading time
3 minutes
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Dior and Valentino: feels a little like déjà vu

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Oct 19, 2016

The Paris Fashion Week is now behind us, with its fair share of debate and surprises. It is assessment time, and two of the Spring/Summer 2017 collections in particular are worthy of a cool-headed review.

They are those by Dior and Valentino, and both of them made the fashion week’s headlines: the Parisian label, for the arrival of Maria Grazia Chiuri as Creative Director, and the Roman label, for Pierpaolo Piccioli's taking solo charge of design.


Valentino and Dior - PixelFormula


The two designers met at Fendi after their studies, and until recently they were working closely together at Valentino. They joined the Italian luxury label in 1999 and gradually took over design of accessories before taking charge of all apparel lines in 2008.

This season, for the first time, the duo split up after a long professional collaboration. As a result, many question marks were raised about Valentino's new identity under a divided creative directorship, and about Dior's future after Raf Simons.

Looking  closely at the two collections, it seems they were both infused with a Valentino spirit, showing as they did significant affinities in style, colours and fabrics, all of them typical of the Rome-based label.


Valentino and Dior - PixelFormula


Both collections in fact featured the same flowing, romantic dresses, spiced up with just a hint of irreverence, which proved successful for Valentino in the last few years. The prevailing hues were virtually the same (black, flesh pink, white and red), while silk, tulle, leather, embroidery and sheer effects were similarly at the forefront along both catwalks.

The end results were a Dior with a more rocking-Valentino feel, and a slightly more austere Valentino. Some of the looks were very much alike, for example the long dress in powdered tulle featuring black polka dots for Dior, and tiny black swallows for Valentino.

Another tulle outfit, in black this time, displayed identical traits in both labels, a sheer effect making the corset's outline visible, with the same rounded collar and embroidered decorations.

Elsewhere, the same rows of tulle frills were attached in the same fashion and nearly at the same height on a straight dress both by Dior and Valentino, and both labels introduced a very similar see-through, dark bodice with a distinctive embroidered motif.


Valentino and Dior - PixelFormula


Also, both designers included in their collection a black leather corset top.

See-through effects and lingerie were of course two of the main trends this season, and some similarities are to be expected. But here and there, the same expertise, the same touch showed through.

For example, an evening dress with thin shoulder straps featured the same plunging neckline, exposing the breast and hanging in quite the same way for Dior and Valentino. In both cases, embroidered motifs were added, the only difference being the choice of motif.

A leather clutch-bag in the Valentino version, left, and the Dior one, right - PixelFormula


The same sources of inspiration were also evident in accessories. Both collections introduced a very similar black leather clutch-bag with a golden chain as shoulder strap, though one of them sported a large J’ADIOR inscription. No way consumers could confuse them!

Knowledgeable observers were nevertheless surprised by these similarities. It is as though the designer duo, which worked with one and the same touch at Valentino, has duplicated, leaving the impression of a disturbing uniformity between the two designers, despite their separation. Looking at their collections today, it is possible to gauge the extent to which the work of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli was symbiotic.

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