The new look for the modern man is redefined by showing both strengths and a gentler side, according to Valentino. After a three-year-hiatus from open forum catwalks, Valentino’s spring-summer 2024 men’s collection was showcased this summer in Milan with Creative Director Pier Paolo Piccioli at the helm and inspired from Hanya Yanagihara’s best seller, “A Little Life.”
“What struck me about the book was the intimacy and resilience of the four male protagonists in the story,” said Piccioli at the press conference held at La Statale, Milan’s public university located in a beautiful courtyard of an Italian Renaissance building. “Today the new masculinity does not follow the rules of society. For years powerful men have been linked to the concept of success and perfection, limited to a jacket and tie. But today true power is being free to show your own fragility while remaining strong.”
Valentino: New masculinity does not follow rules of society
Just as some folks have followed the trend of tattooing messages onto your body, some passages, sometimes brief and sometimes a mouthful, from the American novelist’s book have also been printed on two of the 56 outfits including:
‘We are so old that we have become young again,’ and ‘Things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.’
“I am against any aesthetic diktat,” said Piccioli.
Showing light triumphs over darkness, Piccioli palette ranges with colours including plain white, black, pink, turquoise, black, blue, grey and green with the majority of the style conflicting with casual short pants cut above the knee dressed under a more formal shirt and tie.
“I like Valentino, but … “
“The signifiers of power and success have so far defined the idea of masculinity,” he said. “But I believe that true power and strength are about the freedom to show your own fragility and sensitivity.”
The look gives a soft, light feel which is appropriate for the warmer seasons and some interesting boxy blazers, embroidering flowers on lapels or printing blown-up blooms on breezy light jackets with straight-cut shirts.
Surprisingly, while Valentino has achieved international acclaim and status as a top luxury brand, the domestic response after watching the video presentation has been critical.
Vito Modugno – 39-year-old Digital Experience Designer – Southern Italy: “My perception is that Valentino is trying to be half classic and half informal. This is not what I usually wear. A jacket and tie with short pants don’t go together. Never.”
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Francesco Grillo- 40-year-old ENEL Green Power – Rome: “I prefer the old style of Valentino. The collection is ok for some special event but not something I’d wear at the office.”
Francesca Cherchi, 35-year-old, office manager with ENEL in Sardinia: “I think Valentino is trying to be gender neutral, provocative in the sense of trying to appeal to a larger community and is ‘Green Washing’. I think a lot more can be done in terms of sustainability.”
According to Bocconi School of Management, Valentino, in addition to highlighting key values such as “ethics and sustainability” in its “shared value” has created a sustainable path (from “me” to “we”) from the atelier to the Community, with the aim of progressing and thriving while respecting the three pillars of the Maison’s work: “people, product, planet”.
To that end, Valentino has been reported to have donated €160,000 ($170,000 USD) to the university in school scholarships; on the sustainable front, the runway materials were to be repurposed and recycled in partnership with Milan’s Spazio META, a company offering recovery services of used materials.