Valentino Vintage at Madame Pauline in Milan is a success: the eternal charm of these dresses shows us the way to a more sustainable fashion

There is the little white dress with floral lace embroidery, the black cocktail mini dress and the cerulean bon-ton dress. And again, pencil skirts for a nude look and silk evening dresses in the iconic red. Looking at them they seem to have just come off the catwalk and instead these garments are over fifty years old, some even seventy. They are full of life, of stories, yet very modern. Who knows what amazing parties that marvel with the fluttering feathered hems has participated in, who knows what passionate hands have lowered the zipper of that other black dress with the sequin bodice, what loves that lace dress has lived. Touching them with your hand imagines faces, distant places, family intrigues, exclusive parties: it is the “magic” power of vintage which here joins the extraordinary beauty of tailoring from Maison Valentino. Clothes, but also hats and jewels, full of real life, of a personal, family experience, bearers of a story linked to that label and, inevitably, that logo that still makes them today precious bulwarks of a past that is projected into the future.

I would have spent hours in the fairy wardrobe that Maison Valentino created in the exclusive takeover of Madame Pauline Vintage on the occasion of the Milan Design Week which has just ended. The Roman fashion house has in fact selected four Vintage Stores around the world – The Vintage Dress in Tokyo, Resurrection Vintage in Los Angeles, New York Vintage in the Big Apple and, precisely, Madame Pauline Vintage in Milan – to complete the “Phase 2” of her circular fashion project Valentino Vintage. A unique initiative of its kind, which kicked off in October 2021 with the request to the public to reconsider their personal “archive” of the maison’s garments to give them new life.

So here’s what now this circular flow it is now fully in motion: in recent months, the selected Vintage Stores have collected and cataloged the garments brought by those who had decided to part with them (in exchange for a voucher of the corresponding value) to give them new life. And now they have been put up for sale to be welcomed by new owners in the four iconic cities of Milan (until June 12), Los Angeles (until June 18), Tokyo and New York (until June 19). Anyone can approach them, view them, try them on or even just admire them while they are exhibited in what are real points of reference for vintage enthusiasts. In Milan, the Madame Pauline Vintage boutique, already a “gem” in itself, was thus transformed into a real wardrobe open to the public: the clothes were arranged with the same familiarity with which the wardrobe of the house is prepared, flanked by historical volumes of fashion and jewelery-sculptures. A journey back in time, also due to the retro allure of that greenish point chosen as the background, a dip into the universe of Valentino Garavani that highlights even more the great coherence with which the creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has collected its legacy over the years.

The comings and goings of young people increasingly attentive to the themes of sustainability and Milanese “sciure” in search of the “bang” was convivial, with the typical festive atmosphere that characterizes second-hand shops that prevailed on rigor, sometimes a little plastered which instead hovers in high fashion boutiques. To be lucky, you could come across characters like the digital creator Judith Bradl sporting one of the masterpiece dresses for sale. Needless to say, the Valentino Vintage takeover was one of the key events of the Design Week and attracted many fans of the genre: by the second day many of the pieces on sale had been purchased, destined for a new life and new adventures, while on Instagram there were posts from the great community of vintage and brand lovers. It is the confirmation that the second-hand is always more the frontier to look to for a more sustainable fashion. And if on the one hand it was natural to wonder how hard the owners separated from certain clothes, on the other hand one can only be happy for the future that awaits them: they are not made to remain dormant at the bottom of some wardrobe, the their modernity deserves a show. And who knows we won’t recognize some of them on the red carpet of the next Prima della Scala in Milan.

If you missed the appointment or simply (like the writer) can’t wait to relive the experience, don’t despair because a “Phase 3” awaits us of the project: Valentino Vintage will go where the newest and most original stories are born. Fashion schools.

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