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King of maximalism, Alessandro Michele, is back with a surprise Valentino collection

Furs and ruffles, ex-Gucci man Alessandro Michele makes a powerful comeback.

There’s no end to Alessandro Michele’s magic and surprises, and most are not complaining. Ahead of his planned debut collection for Spring 2025, Mr. Michele surprised everyone with his firsts design for Valentino on the final day of Milan Fashion Week menswear-palooza. Accomplishing this in just two months into his new role is impressive, but then again, it’s Alessandro Michele we’re talking about.

Valentino Spring 2025

Back in April 2024, Mr. Michele replaced Pierpaolo Piccioli as the creative director of Valentino.

Valentino Spring 2025

In his appointment announcement, Mr. Michele had expressed his admiration for founder Valentino Garavani. Drawing inspiration from Valentino’s archives, his Spring 2025 lookbook is a testament to this reverence, featuring no fewer than 171 looks, complemented by 93 additional images showcasing bags, shoes, and jewelry.

Valentino Spring 2025

At first glance, the collection vividly channels the essence of Valentino from the 1970s and 1980s. Each piece harmoniously blends vintage elements with Michele’s distinct, eclectic flair, marking a compelling start to his tenure at Valentino.

Valentino Spring 2025

Mr. Michele’s keen eye for detail is evident in the intricate layering, sumptuous textures, and rich accessories that define each outfit. Satin headscarf and large drop earrings give off the Victorian-era vibe while a gender-fluid element is present.

Valentino Spring 2025

One of the looks features a short, creamy ruffled dress adorned with layers of delicate frills, evoking a playful and romantic aesthetic. The dress is complemented by sheer, lacy gloves reminiscent of old-world femininity, while the floral-patterned headscarf atop the hair enhances the ensemble.

Valentino Spring 2025

Another look features a long textured coat with a lavish fur collar and cuffs. Beneath the coat, a matching tweed or textured mini-skirt and top set complement the outerwear. A mustard-colored handbag with a beaded strap introduces a subtle pop of color, enhancing the ensemble’s rich palette.

Valentino Spring 2025

To put it succinctly, there is the floral, extravagant Gucci in this collection as well, but there is a minimalistic grace that Valentino traditionally embodied. It’s a mix of bows and ruffles, but with some toned-down elegance and more sophistication. Mr. Michele is staying true to his vibrant, larger-than-life character, but not eliminating the essence of Valentino completely.

Valentino Spring 2025

Interestingly, Kering, which owns Gucci, holds a 30% stake in Valentino. Mr. Michele departed Gucci in November 2022, giving way to Sabato de Sarno, who has since taken Gucci into a completely new design direction.

Valentino Spring 2025

In a conversation with Vogue, Mr. Michele said, “I started working at Valentino as if we were an orchestra; everyone was playing his instrument with so much love and dedication that I thought it’d be right to be thankful and grateful to the people who have worked so tirelessly to make it happen. My job is to tune the instruments, and it’s all about sharing, so to keep the collection somehow hidden from view wouldn’t have felt right. This is a beginning born out of love—it wants to be brought to light and be seen and shared.”

Valentino Spring 2025

Titled “Avant les Débuts” the collection is not just a homage to Valentino’s past but a bold statement of its future under Mr. Michele’s direction. Each piece speaks to timeless elegance, yet feels fresh and contemporary, solidifying Mr. Michele’s transformative force at Valentino. His fans will be pleased.

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