Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 16 was a celebration of the gesture of Parisian ateliers and the importance of creating a silhouette. A sea of ruffles adorned the models at last night’s show. The quintessential couture show of the season reminds us of the timeless collections of grand couturiers of the 1980’s— Ungaro, Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Scherrer. This is no wonder since Valli precisely took Yves Saint Laurent’s salon pictures as inspiration, looking for a neat, compact and contoured silhouette; one that embodies attitude of confidence, timeless charm, but has a fresh perspective. Valli showcased unbelievable masterpieces rivaled for contemporary high society maidens. Tulle ball gowns with his signature mullet-hem never come out of style. Certain pieces supremely showcase his couture strength, such as the structured black caplets, the all-white dress with elongated bell sleeves covered in plums of ostrich feathers with impeccable embroidered snake appliques that sit atop the sleeves, finished with stunning white fez. Similar reinterpretation of a traditional fez hat was previously seen in Yves Saint Laurent’s work, particularly in the Winter 1985 prêt-à-porter collection. Elongated, sophisticated, carefully contrasted, all pieces are impeccably balanced and given a streamlined sensuality.
First part of the collection has a young feel; the dresses were kept short and sleek, all finished with ravishing embellishments and embroidery. Seemingly simple, dresses possess a fabulous volume, as seen on a draped mousseline mini dress paired with a black silk cape. The 1980’s theme is additionally emphasized with the use of oversized accessories— bow detailing, massive sleeves, asymmetrical trains and accentuated shoulders. Second part of the collection is a Valli must— layered chiffon and tulle maxi gowns. Sheer overlays speak Valli’s specific language, portraying his vision of a modern day couture princess. Reinvented, but authentic nevertheless, the gowns were quickly put under the critical spotlight. As the critics began to comment on the déjà-vu experience, Valli stated: “You think you know what I’m capable of, but I’ve only just begun.”
Photo credit: Vogue