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By Chere Di Boscio
Valentino’s muse this Paris Fashion Week wasn’t the sunny, candy-coloured one you’d expect for a summer collection; on the contrary, the SS14 range featured influences from one of the darker women in mythology: Medea.
The Greek enchantress is often depicted as being a priestess of the goddess Hecate, or a witch; her main claim to fame is ripping her own children apart. So, a rather un-glamorous figure on which to base a fashion collection, you’d think, except the truer inspiration for the house was apparently more specifically Maria Callas in her operatic role as Medea.
Callas was one of the most recognisable voices in opera, and one of the most famous divas to ever grace the stage. In her role as Medea, she wore traditional Greek clothing, including an embroidered waistcoat, elaborate headpiece and heavy strings of chunky beads. The Valentino collection interprets this look gently, with ethnic embroidery set off by sheer panels, light chiffon and short skirts, or exquisite lace sewn onto long, tailored sheaths, and studded headbands in smoothed back hair. Accessories included statement cuffs and necklaces, gold-embellished sandals, as well as what is sure to be one of the hottest summer must-haves, the fringed bag.
This was a bold collection, standing out from the shimmery silvers and sweet creams that were seen on several other runways, but then Valentino isn’t your typical fashion house, in style (never one to follow a trend), quality (jaw-dropping attention to detail) or philosophy (the only couturier to be given Greenpeace’s highest rating). In short, it seems the fierceness of Medea is the perfect metaphor for the house’s artistic strength.