Valentino x Undercover


“Bringing the street’s attitude in the Atelier”. Valentino’s AW19 runway show notes offered a fascinating insight into the shared vision for Pierpaolo Piccioli and Jun Takahashi’s collaborative project. Piccioli has often flirted with elements of street fashion during his time at the helm of Valentino, but facilitating a partnership between the famous Maison and Jun Takahashi’s Undercover label represents a dynamic shift in the identities of both designers. It’s an experiment that not only works, but makes a compelling argument for future experimentation with creative syles and approaches not normally associated with Valentino. 



The collection is ultimately a marriage of luxe and street fashion, executed with a deep appreciation for the merits of both. Valentino’s sleek tailoring and skilful use of luxurious fabrics remain everpresent themes, whilst Undercover riff on the template with bold graphics and playful imagery. Piccioli and Takahashi chose to play with the concept of futurism for their collaboration. Set against the backdrop of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, runway models were adorned in everything from impeccably tailored overcoats to slouchy, oversized knitwear pieces, many bearing striking UFO prints and faceless images of Edgar Allen Poe (referencing the urban legends that suggest Poe was a time traveller!). The juxtaposition of Undercover’s graphic imagery on the canvas of Valentino’s timeless menswear silhouettes really lends credence to Piccioli’s intentions to be “more inclusive and open to new opportunities”.


“I’m not going to renounce sneakers and put back on shoes every day!
So the thing is to find a new way to integrate sportswear.”

- Pierpaolo Piccioli

And that open-minded attitude is crucial to the success of this project. Every piece in the collection reflects the freedom that Takahashi has been granted when designing his graphics, and offers a further testament to Piccioli’s respect towards his craft. The understanding between two designers operating at the peak of their abilities, albeit at radically different ends of the fashion spectrum, lays the foundation for their collaboration and allows for a synthesis of luxury fashion and sub-culture referencing streetwear like none seen before.



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