A place as an idea – a representation, a metaphor. Not the château, but “Un Château” – a locale unanchored to geographies or eras, but expressive of an idea of life, a symbol to be analyzed, questioned, then redefined.
For the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-24 Valentino show, a Château is, to Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli, a metaphysical entity, a context that can itself be recontextualized. Witness to a past time, a space bears traces of the lives lived within it – formerly emblematic of notions of elitism and status, a Château can today reject its history, to be recalibrated. Nameless and universal, a Château can exist as an everyplace for everyone, can become a forum for a new equality and a celebration of beauty, uniqueness and freedom.
A Château can also serve as a metaphor for collective preconceptions of Haute Couture – as the lived history of a Château can be reconfigured, these expectations can be confounded, and paradoxes discovered.
Within complexity – the architectural complexity of a Château, the perceived complexity of Haute Couture – a pure simplicity can be found. A fundamental ideology of Couture is championed – its expertise, its craft, and the power of the individual, the unique. These concepts are translated to clothes that reflect contemporary sensibilities, modern realities. Through a process of reduction, there is the anomalous result of adding meaning.