With his spring couture, Valentino revisited his all-white collection of 1968, the year in which he designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress for her marriage to Ari Onassis. And to underscore the memoryat least, for those who have the recallhe presented it in a series of intimate, tulle-curtained salons reminiscent of the show in the Sala Bianca in Rome that propelled him onto the world stage.
On a cold Paris night in January 2007, in a different world, it was perhaps asking too much of his audience to comprehend the full import of the reference. In any case, there was nothing necessarily historical about the clothes, only a series of plays on Valentino's signature detailsthe satin rouleaux edgings, the bias-cut ruffles, the silk draping. For his loyal couture customer, who appreciates such things as a neat coat over a little beaded dress, there was plenty that will appeal, and the fragile white gowns will speak volumes to a girl who seeks a dainty red-carpet silhouette in which to set herself apartask Cameron Diaz.
Ironically, though, it wasn¿t all the white that set the fashion crowd talking, but a singular piece of daywear: a collarless, Empire-line princess coat. It was sugar-almond pink and perfectso perfect, in fact, it left a sense of frustration that the maestro could have done more in the same vein. Perhaps Valentino is hanging fire. Word has it he¿s preparing a major celebration for his next couture show in July, when the full scope of his métier is certain to be laid out in myriad splendor.