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Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli explored a seemingly darker side of Valentino’s signature sophisticated elegance for Spring Summer 2014. According to show notes, the Rome Opera served as inspiration for Chiuri and Piccioli (they visited the ateliers last summer). This theme gave a worldly opulence to the collection. The designers sent models down the runway dressed in colorful embroideries woven into geometric prints set against darkly hued tulle dresses. The decorations were not entirely Roman, there were African influences as well. Each sumptuous piece* conveyed a lush, earthy, and seriously feminine look.

Equally stunning were the golden accessories: flat gladiator sandals, gilded zodiac medallions, scarab bracelets and rings. The models wore studded leather straps wrapped in their hair and carried handbags trimmed with gold grommets and fringe. For all the ornate beauty, the design duo was smart to mix in some minimalist elements (luxurious day wear as well as long, plain gowns in solid colors). With such a beautifully balanced show, it’s easy to see why Valentino is loved the world over, boasting the globe’s most stylish women as fans.

*To view the entire Ready-to-Wear SS 2014 collection go to Valentino’s website.

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