In 1968, the fashion press dubbed Valentino the Sheik of Chic. The groundbreaking collection that landed him that nickname was the White Collection, an all-white lineup stitched with a trademark “V” on lapels and pockets that included the wedding dress worn by Jackie Kennedy when she married Aristotle Onassis.
“She owned that dress already, and several dresses of this collection,” Valentino told Fern Mallis in November. “When all the magazines came out and said she married Onassis, Women’s Wear Daily was the first to call and ask if I made the dress. I said, ‘I have no idea. Nobody called me for the dress.’ They were right. The month after the wedding, we sold 30 pieces of the same dress.”
To celebrate the opening of the new Valentino flagship on Fifth Avenue, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli payed homage to that 1968 show with an exclusive haute couture collection that debuted on Wednesday night at the former Whitney Museum of Art in New York City. The 47-look show opened with a neatly tailored, updated version of a double-breasted swing coat. Sleek, cashmere capes followed along with kicky minis, sitting high on the waist, and twinned with delicate, lace blouses. For evening, Chiuri and Piccioli pulled out all the stops, offering a plethora of white gowns that ranged from minimal column dresses to sheer, high-collared lace designs.
Along with a stunning runway presentation, guests from Katie Holmes and Sofia Coppola to Ben Stiller and Emma Roberts entertained themselves with a variety of rooms set up specifically for the occasion. There was a fragrance room, a candy-tasting room and a room with giant eyeballs plus the premiere of the Valentino x Fornasetti collection — proof that when Valentino comes to New York City, it’s not just a show, it’s an experience.
images: courtesy of Dan Lecca for Valentino