Alessandro Michele's Valentino debut is here - and with it is 70s maximalism

The wait is over

Valentino Resort 2025 collection imagery
(Image credit: Valentino)

Maximimalists rejoice; Alessandro Michele is officially back.

Valentino's newly appointed creative director has thrown the ultimate fashion curveball on the last day of Milan Fashion Week. Just two months after the eponymous Italian fashion house announced Michele's appointment after Pierpaolo Piccoli's 16 years as creative director, we are witnessing major shake-ups in the industry. From Sabato De Sarno following on after Michele's eight years at Gucci to last week's news of Virginie Viard's upcoming departure from Chanel, leaving plenty of whispers of who will be following on from Karl Lagerfeld's successor.

As De Sarno prepares to showcase his Spring/Summer 2025 offerings for Gucci's menswear show in just a few hours, Michele took to Valentino's social media accounts to release a series of images to present the brand's pre-Spring 2025 lookbook. Featuring a whopping 171 looks, plus 93 separate images of shoes, jewellery, and bags. The collection, titled Avant les Débuts, simply translates to 'before the debut,' leaving avid fans wondering what else will be coming après the surprise debut.

Valentino Resort 2025

(Image credit: Valentino)

Michele is no stranger to having a quick turnaround, as his Gucci menswear debut was also completed in a matter of weeks nine years ago. The pivotal collection instantly became a success and sparked many conversations around fashion and gender, gaining strong celebrity backings from the likes of Harry Styles, Dakota Johnson, and Jared Leto.

Michele is a masterful creator who showcases his influential craft time and time again. For this collection, he took profound inspiration from the Valentino archives spanning all the way from 1959.

Landing on the 1970s as a key marker of inspiration, those familiar with Michele's work will be pleased to see that he is keen on maintaining strong ties to his artistic direction, no matter the fashion house. Leaning on Valentino Garavani's Roman opulence and maximalist qualities, Michele has delivered his own take on the brand's signature romantic aesthetic achieved through feminine silhouettes, soft draping and flowing fabrics.

Valentino Resort 2025 Campaign Imagery

(Image credit: Valentino)

Keeping Valentino's classic ready-to-wear designs in mind, Michele presented an array of looks that differ from his usual maximalist prints, billowing silhouettes, and invariable use of jewellery to adorn every single earlobe, hand, and hair in sight.

Across the collection, there was also a line-up of Peter Pan collars, bell-bottom trousers, animal print coats, and tiered skirts and dresses. All of which had Valentino's traditional sense of wearability and use of colour.

These serve as a comprehensive overview of how the creative director will tackle the Roman couture house. Certain pieces pay homage to Valentino's iconic 1968 white collection in the form of coats with printed V-motifs on pockets and cropped jackets. Of course, Michele's gender-fluid styling is preserved for an extra touch of modernity on otherwise traditional styles.

Speaking in a recent Vogue interview, the creative director ruminated, "I never had any political agenda at Gucci about the changes that my discourse on gender has triggered. I only followed my idea of beauty, and everything else has happened naturally and also in a rather delicate, gentle way. Here at Valentino, everything that happens will happen naturally - because that's the way that I am."

Sofia Piza
Fashion Writer

Sofia Piza is the Fashion Writer at Marie Claire UK. 

Sofia Piza is a Fashion Writer with experience working across runway trends, shopping picks, creative production, and celebrity fashion news. Born in Mexico and raised in five countries, Sofia decided to settle in London after spending four years at the London College of Fashion, studying Fashion Journalism. When she's not sourcing inspiration from social media, you will most certainly find Sofia anywhere from a local vintage market to busy central London streets people watching - the possibilities are endless.