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Fashion

Valentino Goes Italian Pop

Tears trickled down Valentino Garavani’s face on Tuesday as he embraced the two designers who took over the Valentino brand — refreshing its spirit in a romantic way that had even a fashion-weary audience enraptured.

But before the finale of filmy dresses, the last of which had a red heart appliquéd to the breast, the show was all about pop art. Baubles in black, red and white appeared on short graphic dresses; triangles of green broke up a knife-pleated skirt and diamond patterns were offered as a new geometry.

The pop elements were in homage to the Italian artist Giosetta Fioroni, whose Rome exhibition Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the new creative directors of Valentino, visited last year.

“She expressed this idea of Italian pop in the 1960s,” Mr. Piccioli said. “It was much more sensitive than America, where pop was always close to an object like Coca-Cola.”

Ms. Chiuri added that their interest in pop art was bolstered by the fact that, just as television changed lives in the 1950s, so Facebook and Instagram are transforming culture today.

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It was a dense theme for some sharp and eye-popping day outfits — including shoes. Yet the core of the show was in another place: in nature, with patterns of birds and especially butterflies that fluttered over dresses that demonstrated the intricate handwork of Valentino’s Roman ateliers.

Although there were some of the stiffer regal dresses familiar to this duo, adorned with tactile surfaces, long sleeves and ankle-sweeping hemlines, there was also a lightening up.

That was literal in the airy transparent materials that gave a fairylike vision to the collection, although it also included some streamlined day clothes like a signature cape, cropped short over a skirt.

The success at Valentino comes from its definite vision. Although it is different from the way the founder created clothes for a particular audience of sensitive, elegant and well-heeled ladies, Ms. Chiuri and Mr. Piccioli have nurtured that most sensitive of fashion elements: desire.

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