At Paris Fashion Week 2013, Valentino unveiled Pure Porcelain, the Italian fashion house’s 2013-2014 Fall/Winter Collection of RTW Womenswear. Blue and white ceramics has been an inspiration for many couture designers, but few have committed as completely as Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli did for this collection. The duo took over at Valentino in October 2008 and it’s been rave reviews ever since.
However they got their ceramic history a little confused. The house correctly states that their influence came from Delftware. For 500 years the Dutch have been perfecting and refining this form of ceramic but it is not “pure porcelain.” Delft is low-fired, tin-glazed earthenware and was initially invented to imitate blue and white Chinese porcelains. It was not until 1710 when King Augustus opened the Meissen Porcelain Works near Dresden that Europe was able to produce hard-paste porcelain.
Here, Delftware is masterfully interpreted into romantic prints that grace dresses and gowns even to the point of mimicking the way the cobalt that produces the blue color in decoration bleeds during firing and becomes a little blurred. The textiles include lace, delicate brocades, silks, organzas, and cotton prints that reference Delfware pottery and there seem to be hints of China’s Willow tradition. Perhaps a well-dressed table and a catwalk aren’t that different.
Above image: Pure Porcelain, Valentino’s collection 2013-2014 Fall Winter Collection was on the runway this spring at Paris Fashion Week.