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Valentino presents Flemish-inspired collection at Paris show

Fall-winter 2013-14 collection creates delicate artistic layers

Valentino presents Flemish-inspired collection at Paris show

By Kate Carlisle Paris, March 5 - Flemish sensuality as portrayed by the artist Jan Vermeer in his masterpiece The Girl with the Pearl Earring has charmed Valentino designers, who brought the feel to the fashion house's fall-winter 2013-14 collection shown on the Paris catwalks this week. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, the creative duo at the helm of the brand, sought inspiration from the works of Vermeer and other Flemish artists, mimicking the way they portray women in their most intimate moments - writing a letter, tying a sash, fastening a string of pearls. Those private moments made sublime through art flowed down the runway. Woven into the delicate layers of suggestion by the creative duo were also snapshots of contemporary Flemish artists, like Suzanne Jogmas and Hendrick Kerstens, that focus on depicting subjects in relation to everyday objects. How does this translate in the pair's collection? 'We conceived of a more austere, severe, even regal sensuality. 'For the necklines we focused on cuts and shapes to enhance and highlight women's faces,' said Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli backstage. 'We worked with different and varying lines, including tulip and vase shapes, to find a fit for all women'. The result is a collection of luxurious dresses, graceful in their length, embroidered with designs inspired by Chinese porcelain. Macrame', lace and velvet embellish blouses that sport collars embroidered with beads or made from mesh-patterned jacquard. Clean lines that hit just above the knee interchange with longer cuts that cover the ankle. The color palette orbited around china blue, pale yellow, scarlet, and gray all punctuated from time to time with black. Shoes and handbags studded with pearls appeared over and over, tying together the constant theme of the central artistic inspiration. Coiffed models wore long braids and velvet hairbands, harmonizing with the old-world Netherlands atmosphere reproduced by the fashion house. Among the front-row celebrities were American model, television and film actress Jessica Alba and fashion designer, actress and television personality Nicole Richie.

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