Showing that he has what it takes to fill Galliano's shoes at Dior, Marc Jacobs created a stellar production to serve as a backdrop for his expertly crafted clothes. Always a directional force, he took a completely different approach to spring after last season's sexed up vamps and kinky boots. Instead he sent out girly girls dressed in soft pastel-colored lace confections who posed and preened on a massive merry-go-round. But these women in shades of lemondrop, cotton candy and baby blue were anything but saccharine, flashing the tiniest decorated briefs under their lady-like coats. The collection seemed to be the exclamation point on the soft and sweet moment that has emerged from Paris with other houses such as Givenchy and Chanel showing subversive takes on staples of feminine dressing.
To the uninitiated, Paris Fashion Week can look like a blur of complex clothes that only make sense in fashion magazine editorials. But the Valentino show was one of those rare moments that can appeal to just about anyone, from the most commercial red carpet lovers to the most advanced level avant-garde types. (Witness the front row, which included mainstream celebrities Jessica Biel and Ciara and insider It girl Alexa Chung.) According to the press notes, designers Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli wanted to create an “expression of pure aesthetic pleasure.” And in that regard, they succeeded. The collection was all eye candy — 55 pretty looks centered around lace, which was used in knee-length cotton shift dresses; leather, halter neck frocks; billowing button-down blouse and short pairings; and dramatic floor-length gowns.