It's that time of year: Everyone's hitting the shops in search of fashion to put in those boxes under the tree. But how about taking some fashion inspiration from the season itself? The Valentino archives contain several stunning gowns that express the Xmas spirit by nodding at gorgeous gift-wrap and eye-catching ornaments.
No store-bought present could possibly compare with Mr. Valentino's haute couture gowns from his Fall/Winter 2005/06 and Fall/Winter 2003/04 collections: His polka-dotted gold silk jacquard faille gown from 05/06 is pretty much gift wrap for the female form, lush bow included; ditto his ribbon criss-crossed red silk gown in a chinoiserie floral print. Meanwhile, nothing could be more seasonal than a touch of classic Valentino red—and his column gowns from Ready-to-Wear Fall/Winter 1985/86 and Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1979/80 boast an additional holiday frisson, courtesy of the punctuating black faille bow (85/86) and bow-shaped "butterfly" jabot and winged sleeve (79/80.)
Of course, no Christmas décor is complete without that eye-catching star on the top of the tree. And Mr. Valentino is no stranger to a star motif: Some of his most elaborately embellished creations take on the theme. To wit, two extraordinary looks from the early 1980s: His fully sequined gown from Haute Couture Fall/Winter 83/84, which features an asymmetric cape sleeve with star embroidery and strass, and his slit-to-there black crepe evening dress from Haute Couture Fall/Winter 82/83, with its gold and silver sequin and glass bead embroidery in a sunburst array.
There's one vintage Valentino look that really speaks to the holiday season, however. For his Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1991 collection, Mr. Valentino produced a show-stopping white crepe column gown with silver bead embroidery. In 14 different languages, the beads spell out: "Peace."