Pierpaolo Piccioli’s club couture collection for Valentino seems to have identified a collective longing and nostalgia for joy. There’s a lot of dressing up with nowhere to go. The “rubber chicken” fundraising dinners of the booming 1980s are a thing of the past, as is, for the most part, the dance culture that gave rise to supper clubs and venues like Le Palace in Paris and London’s Blitz Club.
Still, Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill had a night on the town in mind when creating her fall lineup. The designer recently lost her grandmother, and she was mulling over the stories her beloved nan told her over the years. In the ’40s and ’50s, her grandparents liked to cut a rug at Club Zanzibar.
Taking liberties with the time stamp, the idea of a big night out became the theme of this collection, which was presented, with much charm, in a house in the West Village. Both a royal blue sequined halter dress and pantsuit channeled a ’70s Studio 54 vibe. print. The draping on other looks referenced the ’30s, a decade many designers are leaning into this season. “It feels right because I think that people are interested in showing off their bodies, but in a more retro way,” Markarian said, “and I think ’30s silhouettes were body-con.”
Apart from its prettiness, there was no real throughline in this collection. A gold paillette skirt with a ’60s Rabanne vibe and a lovely off-the-shoulder cocktail number with a side-drape in a metallic floral jacquard didn’t really talk to each other. But two of the most successful designs weren’t retro at all. Combining soft draping with embellishments, the all-white body caressing numbers looked modern and elegant.