Last week, the fashion set, who hailed from Brazil to Germany, descended upon Beijing and sat with bated breath under the beautiful halls of the Aman Summer Palace. The luxury resort, which used to be the Chinese emperor’s holiday quarters, was transformed by glass boxes into a runway, which connected three palatial rooms, as autumn foliage decorated its perimeter. Outside, enormous block letters spelling Valentino informed each guest that they were in for something big and beautiful. This is, after all, what creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli does best.
An operatic aria blasted through the speakers and the first look emerged, a voluminous pink gown layered over a glittering turtleneck, followed by a hooded cape drenched in feathers and then a blooming bow jumpsuit with a five-foot train. Then the room took a collective gasp as a model wearing a crystal mask flitted past in a majestic robe adorned in rich gold and silver embroidery reminiscent of Chinese imperial gowns with fanning shoulders. It was look after look of incredible haute couture craftsmanship on display.
By the time a diaphanous bridal look in cream and silver brocade emerged, the audience had their hands to their heart, only to have their breaths stolen for a final time by supermodel DuJuan doused in three-dimensional foiled flowers. As each costume made its finale appearance, guests were wiping away tears.