Poetry is not dead. You might be relieved to know that this is less about the proclamations of love by 13-year-olds on Instagram or the grievances of dead poets, and more about experimental Italian haute couture and collaborative art. 

For Valentino’s F/W ’19 collection, Pierpaolo Piccioli enlisted four poets – Greta Bellamacina, Mustafa The Poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward and Robert Montgomery –– to interpret his threads through poems. 

Their words culminated in a small publication titled Valentino on Love, as well as embroidered text on the garments themselves. Dreamy musings like “You thought I was too dark until I stretched into a galaxy” and “There’s a forever beyond the sky/I think we should go there tonight” were seen stitched across hoodies, between layers of tulle dresses, and alongside intricate applique. 

But the interspersing of casual silhouettes and slogans within this haute couture collection plants intriguing thoughts. 

For starters, the oxymoron of Piccioli’s street-inspired couture jumps out at you in the same way that accessible poetry does. These unlikely unions inject hope for the revival of poetry and restore the relevance of haute couture. Perfect timing in an age when #instapoetry and #hypebeast have become borderline nauseating. 

And at the show, it didn’t stop at the garments. The surreal backdrop installation by Robert Montgomery, which read “The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive”, also created an air of bittersweet romance that was simultaneously introspective yet in-your-face. 

Piccioli’s narrative prowess might suggest that it was never about fashion with poetry, but that it is simply poetry. 


Photos: Valentino


This story was first published on Her World’s Sept 2019 issue.