A moment to redefine an identity of men, to re-examine a meaning of masculinity, to discover a new, modern perspective. The Valentino the Narratives menswear Spring/Summer 2024 collection by Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli reconsiders their definitions for today - the life of men, the life of their clothes, the reality of masculinity now.
A changed culture and a shifted society re-evaluates our notion of the masculine, and the garments that clothe it. Paradoxes inform this contemporary incarnation - a strength can be found in fragility, a power in gentleness, a perfection in imperfection. Likewise, a past can be part of the present: a collection anchored in the rules of tailoring, in the timeless masculine wardrobe is presented in Milano, where Valentino Garavani staged the first Valentino menswear show in 1985.
Working within traditions allows a questioning of conventions - rules are broken, changes actioned from inside. Transformed contexts can shift perception so tailoring, once emblematic of power and success, can now be worn by a new generation as an expression of individuality. Sartorial blazers and coats are worn with brief shorts, afforded youth and energy, softened and eased. Classic workwear pieces, our familial uniforms of masculinity, are given delicacy, while shapes throughout are subtly evolved, almost imperceptibly changed in part, to transform the whole. Pure cotton - drill, popeline, cotton double - is elevated, proposed with a new nobility.
There is a life to pieces, a life to fabrics, flowers as symbols of life itself, transience given permanence. Emblems of affection and tenderness, they serve as both graphic decoration in applications across the surface of garments, and as totems, reminders of and replacements for the rigid hierarchical structures of traditional tailoring. Closing shirts like memories of neckties, blossoming from lapels, intimate and romantic, these flowers contradict the values of their forebears. Inspired by the Japanese concept of Kintsugi - meaning ‘golden seams’ and describing an honouring of imperfection and repair - the fragile becomes a point of emphasis, a celebration of the resilience of humanity, as if pieces are made of memories.
History cannot be escaped - it informs the present, shapes the future. Yet this collection both proposes and responds to a contemporary reconsideration of history - it is both a challenge, and an ongoing dialogue, of what makes a man today.
“We are so old, we have become young again.” - Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life