Valentino Menswear SS24

EMBRACING the ever-evolving discussions around systemic gender boundaries, Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest menswear collection for Valentino questions the constraints of the ideal of ‘masculinity,’ utilising his recurring ‘Narratives’ umbrella to redefine societally imposed regulations about what creates a man today. 

Though gender fluidity is know new ideal, the widespread discussion surrounding it most certainly is, and with harmful rhetoric continually being perpetuated by right wing media, Piccioli uses his designs as a political form of art that explores the conversation further. 

With ethereal fluidity and captivating colours, the collection stems away from the menswear collections of yesteryear, and though is not entirely radical in its discoveries does certainly pose a vision for a more intersectional ideal of what masculinity is. 

Taking inspiration from the Japanese practice of Kintsugi, a term that means golden joinery and refers to the mending of broken pottery with molten gold, the collection embraces fragility and imperfection in a way that celebrates beauty from more obscure points of view. 

Floral motifs explicitly blur the lines between what is considered ‘masculine’ by today’s standards, while more subtle pairings of sartorial overcoats with brief shorts bring an almost youthful energy which speaks to a more naive era of childhood, where societies inflictions were less moderated or understood.  

Though the pieces embrace a certain softness and elegant quality, they also seem empowering and triumphant and exude an entrancing attitude on the runway. Perhaps it is the hypnotising colour scheme or the way the garments move an interact with one another, but nevertheless is a beautiful show from start to finish. 

It certainly is not the most pressing presentation when it comes to the arguments surrounding gender ideals, but Piccioli’s combination of metaphor, literature and language certainly poses a more subtle reinvention of the modern climate of masculine values, one which is arguably not threatening, but neither plays it safe.

by Ben Sanderson 


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