After fall's hardcore Helmut Newton Valkyrie, with her wardrobe of tough suits and men's ties, Valentino did a complete reverse. His spring 2005 collection drew inspiration from a woman who travels the world, hitting the global trail with a few hippie looks and some personal charms. Of course, since she's a Valentino gal, her caravan is more likely to be a yacht, and the band she travels with will include her chef, hairdresser, and personal trainer. Nor is she packing light; courtesy of Valentino, she'll be well supplied with ruffled floral chiffon dresses, pleated cotton skirts embroidered with bands of gold, and small, fitted jackets strewn with beads, in a palette centering around lime, ivory, and earthy shades of ochre and brick.
And as for those personal charms, she's wearing them everywhere: huge chunky pendants at the neck, a gold cuff on each wrist (some spelling out "VAL," others encrusted with enormous flowers), and leather belts in the shade of tan one might turn after too much top-deck sunbathing. Even those weren't left untouched. Some had buckles mounted with crystals, others were sewn with strands of pearls. Valentino, like every other designer showing in Paris this season, put a major emphasis on accessories. The best was a tan leather thong decorated with ivory-and-gold flowers; it's the kind of sandal that will go the distance even if your summer is spent in the city, instead of round the Greek Islands.
This last point is crucial. Fashion is now in the process of redefining all its rules: what's glamorous, what's luxurious, what's casual, and what's appropriate, where and when and at what age. Valentino's response was to mix a welcome dose of reality into his bohemian deluxe looks. Sportier pieces, like silk charmeuse polo shirts and taffeta parkas, still had his glossy, luxurious style, but were far more suitable for everyday life.