Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli been shifting the needle on inclusive model casting since his influential haute couture spring/summer 2019 presentation brought showgoers to tears. Three years on, the beloved creative director, whose front rows lined with other designers are testament to his reputation, is still making a case for community-driven couture. For an industry built on elitism, this is no mean feat. Today’s Paris presentation, during the spring/summer 2022 season, was another step forward towards a couture vision that includes everyone.
After 57-year-old Kristen McMenamy opened the show with the kind of commanding presence only decades on the runway can provide, a group of men and women of all ethnicities, ages and sizes walked through the gilded rooms of Paris’s Place Vendôme. Yes, there were the usual house favourites, including Adut Akech and Mariacarla Boscono, but a fleet of fresh faces, from grey haired beauties Lynne M Koester and Hannelore Knuts to plus-sized models Levie Hsieh, Devyn Garcia and Angeer Amol, showcased a collection exploring “the anatomy of couture”.