One in a series on the clothes that had a moment at Paris Fashion Week:


Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

PARIS – Pretty much everything that Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli sent down the runway for spring 2018 was a terrific idea. A full-fledged winner. The collection wasn’t an homage to anything or anyone. It wasn’t inspired by a specific painting, landscape or novel. It didn’t have a theme. Each idea was born out of his imagination, which roamed freely and playfully. And from that unencumbered travel, Piccioli returned with cargo pants, tank dresses, anoraks and walking shorts that were exceptional.


Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

The color combinations were surprising and beautiful: chocolate brown with fuchsia, yellow and gray, tangerine and brown. Cut-outs gave dresses and tops sex appeal by revealing skin, but they never tipped into vulgarity. Long, slouchy skirts with welcoming pockets paired perfectly with silver “sweatshirts.” Strappy fitted tops, akin to a very stylish sports bra, peeked from beneath glittering tank dresses. Cargo pants were striped with sparkles. Shoes ranged from delicate, embellished heels to rubber-soled flats.


Valentino Spring Summer 2018 (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

And best of all: the jackets. The modest anorak was elevated to something precious and glorious. Piccioli wasn’t playing around with athleisure, which tends to be little more than cutting athletic gear from luxury fabrics and putting a high price on it. (God bless fashion for giving customers the confidence to believe that their leggings are fabulously stylish.)


Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

Valentino Spring Summer 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

Piccioli did something much different. He transformed this sporty little jacket, and made it into something completely new. He didn’t necessarily make it better — it’s hard to improve upon the practicality of a good anorak in foul weather. Piccioli’s version are not geared toward protecting you from sea spray. They are for looking glamorous without looking contrived, even if a spangled anorak isn’t exactly something you just happen to throw on.


Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli takes his bow after presenting his Spring Summer 2018 collection. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

But that’s the dream. And as Piccioli says in his show notes, fashion should be a “fantasy exercise.” That’s not a by-product; it’s the main point.

Also at Paris Fashion Week

Crocs on the runway, and other strange signs of the time in fashion

Junya Watanabe envisions a world of happy punks in big, pretty dresses

It’s like Gumby joined a utopian cult — and created the season’s most magical fashion

Chloé’s new designer came up with a fresh idea for pants, and it actually works

Lush, timeless beauty from fashion’s normal guy

Clothes that could make air travel glamorous again. Well, almost.

Sexy and sophisticated, the Saint Laurent show was just plain glorious

Dior slaps a slogan on a T-shirt and tries to pass it off as feminism

There is just no excuse for this ugly, boring fashion

Fashion wants to put on a spectacle. Can we keep sight of the clothes?