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Valentino’s dreamy SS 2015 collection was inspired by the Grand Tour, a cultural journey through Italy taken by the aristocracy during the 18th century. This provided rich fodder for creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. For spring, the designers delivered a masterclass in texture-play with a collection teeming with delicate chiffon, feathers and lavish lace. As always, the workmanship was superb.

Let’s get straight to the clothes! There was a sprinkling of summery looks, some crafted out of broderie anglaise and others in weightless, ruffled silk chiffon – their soft pastel colors representing faded memories of travels past. Another series of dresses featured dazzling prints that looked as though they had been lifted from souvenir scarves. My favorite? The red and white midi dress with the exquisitely beaded collar and pockets. Chiuri and Piccioli dialed up the drama with feather-embroidered pieces that were not only technically impressive, but perfectly captured the brand’s ladylike sense of romanticism.

The culture of beauty continued with marine themed journeys. A blue shift painted with a shimmering seahorse added a dose of enchantment. There was also a navy devore velvet and tulle dress with an enlarged shell pattern. The fabrication was rich, but the design was fresh and lovely. Other stunners were floor-sweeping gowns decorated with an archival coral print and another with sparkling silver starfish.

The seaside theme carried into the accessories which included flat gladiator-style sandals with brushed gold marine treasures affixed to the top of the feet and delicate jewelry such as rings featuring miniature sea creatures. The models wore natural makeup and their hair was styled with gentle, beachy waves pulled into a half ponytail. Sections of their hair were coiled around a tiara decorated with tiny metallic seashells. All of these thoughtful details worked together to create a truly magical show.

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