By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor
PARIS, July 7, 2005 - As the sun began to set behind the Eiffel Tower
Wednesday evening, a stellar crowd filled the Palais de Chaillot for
the Valentino couture show. Princess Clotilde de Savoie sat along side
Sheryl Crow, Princesse Rosario of Bulgaria and Madame Chirac, while
across the aisle Gwyneth Paltrow sent paparazzi into a flashing frenzy.
With persistent rumors that this was to be Valentino’s last couture
show, the announcement of his retirement imminent, Clothilde de Savoie
mused before the show “I’ve worn Valentino since the beginning of my
career, and I still have the chance to get more couture.” The princess
was a French actress before marrying the heir to the Italian
What soon passed down the runway was signature Valentino, be that in
day suits trimmed with mink or dripping with mossy clusters of jet
beads. Shoes were frothed with peacock feathers. White chiffon was
draped and dusted with sprays of silver. A crocodile bustier came
dripped with amber crystal.
But the evening wear glittered as if it had been designed with the red
carpet in mind. Lace was frosted like a wedding cake, while diaphanous
gowns floated along the catwalk. Each piece was exquisitely polished,
and this season the toga-gown gave way to a more linear silhouette,
defined by pencil skirts, or flared hemlines and trains.
When Sir Val made a cameo appearance after the finale, he seemed to be
waving goodbye, a fact also alluded to in the soundtrack full of every
siren song ever composed.
Gwyneth Paltrow, who was dressed in an simple jacket with jeans,
remarked, “I loved it.” She then turned to Anna Wintour, Editor-In
-Chief of Vogue USA who was seated to her right. “See you tomorrow,”
As guests filtered back out the door all that was left was the
gathering Paris dusk.