Valentino’s African-inspired collection makes a statement

The House of Valentino turned to Africa as the muse for its latest collection.

Using African motifs and classical Roman undertones, the result is an enchanting fusion of two very different cultures.

But the clothing isn’t just making a fashion statement. Creative directors Pierpaolo Piccoli and Maria Grazia Chiuri are using the spring-summer line to spread a message about humanity.

“The message is tolerance,” Piccoli has said, “and the beauty that comes out of cross-cultural acceptance.”

He’s referring to the recent influx of African refugees into southern Italy.

Seeking sanctuary from poverty and terrorism, thousands have ventured across the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe, crowded vessels, many of them dying before they can be rescued by Italian authorities.

This social crisis is stirring controversy, with critics suggesting that welcoming the refugees is a costly, dangerous venture without end.

While fashion may not be able to resolve this situation, Valentino has nonetheless staked its claim by creating an ode to Africa.

The collection includes geometric patterns, fringe and feather accents, embroidered wildlife scenes and white ceramic, bone-inspired jewelry — all reminiscent of tribal Africa. Among the Roman undertones are the white ceramic jewelry’s original gladiator framework and a revamp of Valentino’s gladiator sandals, with added ebony heels and studding.

(1) Sleeveless Jaguar-print Sheath Dress

With one look on this page, you’re soaring with the birds; with the other, you’re spying wildflowers; and, with this number, you’re on an untamed safari. This knit dress, featuring a brown and gold jaguar print, nips at the natural waist to keep you taut on the prowl. $2,950.

(2) Jewel-neck Bird-print Capelet Dress

Peachy-pink birds take flight against an inky backdrop. The deep flyaway back evokes bird wings, combining with the mini length for a comfortable sexiness. $2,990.

(3) Short-sleeve Landscape-print Dress

Blush-colored birds rise from a landscape of wild flowers on this dress, which features a jewel neckline for a crisp effect. $4,500.

(4) V-Neck Mini Dress with a Banded Waist

Ancient Roman influences are at the forefront in this mini dress with its goddess-inspired neckline. The A-line silhouette, which includes a cutout detail in the front and lower back, also features a plunging V-neck and embellished leather waistbands that complete the slimming effect. $6,400.

For more, visit neimanmarcus.com.

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