Valentino Couture Fall 2021: The Matchy-Matchy Eyeliner Look We Need Right Now

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Much is made of Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s ability to bring a modern sensibility to his couture designs, often using volume and a color palette that exists outside of more classic conventions to surprise and delight those lucky enough to attend his presentations (and wear his beautiful clothes). At an intimate show this evening at the Gaggiandre in Venice’s Arsenale, he flexed this specific sartorial muscle yet again, presenting chic suiting and separates, many of which were interchangeable on a cast of men and women, in pops of of canary yellow, emerald green, and a heart-stopping fuchsia. Gowns and cocktail dresses added punchy pinks, baby blues, and the house’s signature red to a color palette that popped against the dusk sky over the 16th century shipyard. A single dress took 680 hours of fine workmanship to complete; yet a sense of luxe simplicity prevailed, from the all-white dress code for attendees, to makeup artist Pat McGrath’s color-coded eyeliner—pencils, topped with pigment-dipped brush strokes—which reinterpreted more familiar cateye flicks in shades of acid pink, lime green, and a “divine purple” to achieve what McGrath called “a new code of modernity that is very simplified.”

Hairstylist Guido Palau’s neat braids and sharp center parts borrowed the same philosophy. “Sometimes women find it hard to wear hair like this, which is extreme in its simplicity,” he remarked of the extension-wrapped ponytails and deliberate behind-the-ear tucks that his team finessed with Oribe’s styling cream to create a natural shine, irregardless of a model’s gender (“couture is for everyone,” Palau insisted). Tight plaits were treated to Pattern Beauty’s styling cream for a similarly sleek finish. “The men actually took a little more time to get the right nuance in a funny way,” Palau continued, noting how fluidity on the runway—and specifically backstage— is a reflection of just how big a part of our world beauty has become. “I think designers are really inspired by how men care about the way they look now, and for men it’s kind of liberating to actually care.” In the end, Palau suggests, we all want the same thing: luxurious hair.

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