Valentino Daydreams of a Red Chamber

BEIJING — Most brands when they host a show in China, as Valentino did here on Thursday, amp up all the China references as much as possible. Not so for the Roman house, which debuted a new couture collection here, outside of its regular calendar.
“It is a classic haute couture Italian collection,” Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli underscored. The show was held on the northwestern edges of the city, at the Aman Summer Palace, a resort that sits right at the doorstep of the former opulent retreat built for Qing dynasty emperors.
Rather, Piccioli hoped people would think of it as a daydream, the title of this particular collection, in which two ancient capitals – Renaissance-era Rome and imperialistic Beijing – engage in a dialogue.
He further elaborated: “It’s keeping your identity and maintaining your diversity, but living together — which I think is good in life in general, not just for a collection.”
Operatic music flowed through the series of narrow chambers and corridors of the Aman resort for a show that felt intimate despite its more than 600 guests. Just the night before, Valentino treated guests to dinner at TRB Hutong where there were parallel but contrasting performances by singers in

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