Pink and blue.
Over the last century, the colors have come to be associated with girls and boys, so it made sense that after memorably drenching his fall 2022 women’s collection in a signature shade of hot pink, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli would introduce an equally vibrant blue tint for his fall 2024 men’s show.
More from WWD
Guests sat on bright blue benches that stood out against the gilded decor of the Paris Mint. But those expecting a runway awash in cerulean were in for a surprise.
Rather than leaning into gender stereotypes, Piccioli used the color as a starting point for a conversation about masculinity. The designer has long been a proponent of fluid dressing, but this time, he traded the kind of flamboyant look worn by Pedro Pascal to last year’s Met Gala for classic styles, and focused on loosening the proportions.
“This collection is a reflection about men’s identity today without talking about gender, but talking about the way men today can be more gentle, more graceful,” he explained in a preview. “When you break the rules from inside, you can be more subtle and more subversive.”
Oversize suits, relaxed outerwear and sweeping coats came in sober shades of black, navy and gray. Piccioli said he wanted his suit jackets, which had no buttons, to feel as comfy as cardigans. Pants — wide and hovering above the ankle — were inspired by the suit proportions of the ’40s.
There were some decorative details, including open-work motifs, inspired by plaster moldings, that were reprised from his last women’s show. They added a subtle flourish to items including a dark gray wool overcoat and a classic navy peacoat.
But mostly, Piccioli’s statement was so quiet as to be almost inaudible. Slouchy tailoring has periodically cycled in and out of men’s fashion, and this lineup will please fans of a sloping shoulder and a boxy pant leg.
Formal pants were dressed down with extra-large double cashmere tops or graphic hoodies in stiff fabrics, including a trompe-l’oeil gray jersey that was in fact leather. Many of the looks were topped with softly structured coats that had been stripped of their lining and had detachable lapels.
That eye-catching sky blue did pop up on a couple of looks, including a pencil-thin duffle coat worn with black pants, a white shirt layered over a black turtleneck, and a black tie. But the winds of change are cooling the luxury sector, and for Piccioli, it’s clearly time to cover up.
Launch Gallery: Valentino Men's Fall 2024
Best of WWD