“A black bow tie worn with a dinner jacket,” is how the dictionary describes the black-tie dress code. “Characterized by or requiring the wearing of semiformal evening clothes consisting of a usually black tie and tuxedo for men and a formal dress for women,” adds Merriam-Webster. Simply put, “black tie” for women best translates to a floor-sweeping number in an evening-appropriate fabric, such as velvet, chiffon, silk or lace or a tuxedo suit, thanks to Yves Saint Laurent who introduced his evening “Smoking” suits in the 1960s. For Fall 2023, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli decided to subvert the definition of evening wear with a 73-look collection that explored every aspect of formal dressing, from the LBD to crisp white shirts.
Simply titled “Black Tie,” the new collection, which was unveiled during Paris Fashion Week over the weekend, toys with dress code rules, transforming traditional eveningwear into disruptive yet wearable pieces that challenge the very conventions of formal dress codes, making it less stuffy and more cool, and removing the ascribed social meanings we give to things.
The show opened with a mini black halter dress featuring a crisp white collar, that set the tone for the neo punk-infused pieces that followed. A nod to dressing up while dressing down, models with tattoos, face piercings, and elongated eyeliner stomped down the runway in leather combat boots wearing mini-skirt suits paired with cropped blouses and long ties, feather-embellished duster coats, polka dot blazers, loose, floor-trailing shirt dresses with high slits, skirts that looked like they were made entirely out of 3D roses, and sequined minis.
Indeed, if anyone’s mastered eveningwear and black-tie dressing, it’s Piccioli, who after taking over at the luxury house in 2016 has seen his stunning creations worn by countless A-listers and celebrities during glamorous events like premieres and award shows. We are certain that this collection will be another red carpet hit.
Clothes aside, there was a sustainable element to the latest show staged at the centuries-old Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris. In its ongoing commitment to environmental awareness, Valentino has pledged to reuse all the wooden benches for future events and projects, while donating part of the textile materials of the fashion show set up to French non-profit La Réserve des arts, which promotes the reuse of materials.