red. Rousseau. The color of love, passion and strength. And the Valentino Inspirational Garavani Hue.
In fact, it was a color so pervasive in the Italian fashion house to this day, that its archives – as brilliantly shared on the new Assouline album “Valentino Russo’ came out on Tuesday – showcasing 550 shades of red that span the Garavani era to current creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.
“For the House of Valentino, red is not just a color. It is a no-fade sign, a logo, an iconic brand element, a value,” reads a red page in the coffee table book featuring a quote from the designer himself.
In the March 1999 issue of WWD, a feature about color as the biggest Oscar trend of the year, Valentino Garavani, who made couture dresses for Whitney Houston and Meryl Streep that year, said: “For my actresses, I still believe in white, black and pale gray are the most happening. Big events…in broad daylight – and Oscars in broad daylight – strong colors can look almost tacky.I’m not sure these colors even work with fashion during the day.The only color I work with is red, because it’s the color of luck Good for Italy. It’s not shocking to see a woman wearing red.”
Not a retrospective, but an answer to the prevalence of red in Valentino’s collections, Piccioli, who for the book ranks some of the house’s finest red and pink pieces, explores what the color reflects.
“Valentino Archives is a living, vibrant ecosystem, where all our treasures are ready to tell their own stories when questioned. This time, we wanted to know how many red dresses we have, and how much Rosso Valentino is present in all of our creations. So this book, perhaps, is an answer to that question, or the beginning of something else,” he wrote in the introduction.
The first red dress presented in stunning contrast on a white page in Valentino Rosso is the first dress created by Valentino for his first Haute Couture Spring 1959 collection in Rome. The dress was made of red tulle, with a flowing strapless neckline in a balloon skirt decorated with tulle flowers. Its name was “Fiesta”.
Writer and curator Charlie Porter notes in the book’s preface: “The red gives the Fiesta dress its modernity, creating its whole landscape in one tone.” He continues: “The power of a dress or outfit created from a single tone, the focus of the mind.”
The idea is one that Piccioli also played pink b, allowing superior craftsmanship and detail to radiate without the distraction of any other shade or pattern. The color, which is the official Pantone color and which Piccioli counts among the House’s shades of red, has become synonymous with the contemporary Valentino era and has, in many ways, revitalized the love of the shade. Pink makes a few appearances throughout the book, including a spread of voluminous gowns from Piccioli’s Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Couture collection.
Over 300 pages, featuring more than 180 of Valentino’s iconic gowns and accessories, “Valentino Rosso” tells the story of the color red and the relationship the home has had with it over 50 years.
All the while, quotes from Garavani and Piccioli, as well as designers and fashion icons, breathe life into the concept and feel of color for them.
“Red is the great filter—bright and revealing. French-American fashion editor Diana Vreeland once said, ‘I can’t imagine being bored with red—it would be like being bored with the one you love.’”
Whether examining the influence of gradation in European art since 1593 or its early influence on Valentino Garavani in the opera “Carmen,” in which the designer said he realized “there is no better color after black and white,” Porter explores what color contributed to clothing and the emotions it evoked. .
When we talk about clothes, we talk about their properties as if they were external to us. Most of it: the threads, the resulting material, their cut, their shape. These are physical traits that are independent of us. This is not the case when we perceive the color of the garment. This perception exists inside our brain. By perceiving color, we are attached to the garment itself,” he writes. “Color, like red, separates from gender, out of control. It relates to uncontrollable desires, instincts, urges, and understandings.”
Valentino Rosso allows outsiders into the well-preserved home archives, and draws fashion insiders further into what Valentino Garavani saw in red, and all he had the power to do.
In one of the quotes from the book, he said:[Red] It is a strong colour, but at the same time it is not coloured. It is neutral: like black, brown, blue and white. It is not a pale or light shade. It transmits a lot of energy and a lot of oomph. Red is life, passion and love. It is the cure for grief.”
The book, which is part of the Assouline’s Legends Collection, comes in a silk hardcover with a deluxe slip case and retails for $250.