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


Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

PARIS — Occasionally there’s a runway show that leaves you with your mouth agape, not because it is shocking or controversial or groundbreaking, but because it is none of those things but has simply managed to astound you by being gorgeous, in a manner that is timeless and universal.

There’s nothing to figure out about the Valentino collection for fall 2018. There are no riddles, no concepts. These are just options. Yes, options for the wealthy. But rather than begrudge them their money, let’s be bighearted and simply hope the wealthy recognize their good fortune and take as much joy in wearing some of these clothes as the less well-off have in admiring them from afar.


Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

PARIS – MARCH 4: Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Photo by Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s color palette is filled with shades of rose and fuchsia, geranium and pink. He mixes mint green, lime and seafoam in a single ensemble, and the effect is delicious. And slim trousers in camel are topped with a long, breezy top in cornflower blue.


Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

His evening gowns are whimsical and charming — grownup without letting go of youthful frivolity. He offers strapless dresses and translucent ones, but no one ever looked overexposed. No garments ever seemed to be hanging by a thread.


Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Valentino Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

In his program notes, Piccioli  says “romanticism is strength” and “grace is authority.” Those aren’t exactly words that reflect the tenor of the times. Talk of emotion, nature and creativity — romanticism in the literary sense rather than the “Bachelor” worldview — is drowned out in an increasingly mechanized world. And well, grace as a kind of power? This is a world of if-they-punch-him-he-punches-back-a-thousand-times-harder. Grace is endangered.

So Valentino, in offering something inviting, gentle and gorgeous, is also offering something rare.

Also at Paris Fashion Week:

No sex, please: For the fall season, fashion is all business.

Padded hips could be in your fashion future. Here’s why.

Balenciaga looks a little bonkers right now. But trust us: In a couple years, your eyes will adjust.

There’s a good reason these models are having a bad hair day

Two new designers took the time to channel their vision — and they got it right

Yeah, these sneakers are ugly. They’re also kind of fabulous.

Sweatshirts made into blazers. Hats made out of hair. This designer is thinking creatively.

Only one Paris designer had fans rioting in the street. But is his fashion any good?

Fashion magic in Paris: These colors should look hideous together. Somehow, they’re exquisite.

Dior wants to dress you like a 1960s student radical. But what’s the message supposed to be?