Inspiration: Elizabethan Couture


I ❤ fashion. Fashion is art to me, and a great collection will inspire me and stay with me for years. I even created an entire sci-fi/fantasy world based on the Gucci Fall 2012 collection (with a healthy dose of Lady Gaga circa Bad Romance - lace masks and everythang). So I love the idea of writers inspiring designers in return. And who better to be inspired by than that most famous and classic of writers, the Bard himself?

All’s well that ends well? Let’s sincerely hope so. On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Valentino haute couture Fall 2016 collection was Elizabethan themed, a conveniently fitting trope, considering that so many of the bard’s plays were set in a fantasy Renaissance Italy—Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and so on.

The cast of characters treading the runway were princelings, princesses, and priests, all high white ruffs, doublets, bodices, puffed sleeves, and clerical robes—inspiration richly available to two designers, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, who live in Rome and are surrounded by the portraiture, architecture, and high Catholicism of the Renaissance. It’s a culture these two live and breathe every day, as do the all-important Roman men and women who work in the Valentino couture ateliers. All of them together—as a fashion house on fire—have created an influential and poetic fashion phenomenon over the past few years. It’s their joint capability which can magic up such wonders as the fragile latticework necklines; golden, pearl-embroidered brocades; and whooshing taffeta capes and skirts we saw tonight.

— Sarah Mower for Vogue

I’m finding this collection all kinds of inspiring right now, so don’t be surprised if you see traces in a future story!