Monastic, artistocratic, modest, and even prim have been terms applied to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's Valentino almost since they took over in 2009. Throughout the past year or so, the designers have been putting the accent on the label's (and their own) wilder side, turning most often to animal motifs to get their message across. With Frida Kahlo as one of their jumping-off points for Resort, parrots and monkeys—both of which appeared in the artist's famous self-portraits—played starring roles in their new collection. But if this was the season Chiuri and Piccioli left those early associations behind for good, it's not because of the exotic flora and fauna they depicted via print, embroideries, and appliqués. Nor was it Kahlo's peasant ruffles and suede fringe that did it.

In the end, somewhat ironically, it was an archival moment that gave this collection its vivid zing. A psychedelic print from a 1973 Valentino show—the program notes called it "visually disruptive"—inspired the graphic, multicolored designs that made up the boldest looks in this huge eighty-three-outfit lineup: a chevron mink over a contrasting-stripe frock, checks with zigzags, and a chemisier dress in pixelated stripes. Extrapolating on that idea, they came up with sixties-ish shift dresses in interesting color combinations—lemon yellow and petal pink, or turquoise, Kelly green, and coral—that were almost as eye-catching but easier to wear. Elsewhere, Chiuri and Piccioli continued to explore the butterfly camouflage prints and embroideries that have become best-sellers for the brand. Pretty, but they were no competition for those energetic stripes and colors.