Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giambattista Valli Spring Haute Couture2012: Reference/Reverence

Giambattista Valli is a hybrid. He’s a designer who is as easily at home with Prêt a Porter as he is in the Couture atelier. Like a gifted concert pianist he’s as dexterous with one hand as he is with the other, all along creating opposing rhythms and harmonies with both. For this and other reasons, I find him to be one of the most compelling creative forces on the scene today.

Valli has the unique distinction of having worked and trained under some of the greatest creators of fashion of the last century. From the Roman formalist, Capucci who sculpted gowns with the precision of an engineer to the House of Emmanuel Ungaro one of the most gifted drapers whose collections were the personification of poetry and romance. Add to the mix references to the great and almighty Christian Dior with a taste of the big screen drama of Adrian and you start to get a picture of his pedigree. This collection seemed to reference and show reverence to the masters under whom he was shaped. The final analysis is undeniably a collection that’s all his own.

Early on he showed delicate cocktail dresses in airy, dotted silk mousseline draped to one side and over one shoulder that felt like a creation from the hands of Ungaro if he were still working. Like Ungaro it appeared organically grown with no effort from a human’s touch. Colors were subtle, never jarring. Lots of black and white in 2 ensembles in particular that felt like a Dior-ism: molded gleaming crocodile in a strictly shaped and fitted jacket with rounded hips over a lithe white lace skirt and again in what might have been a simple

draped coat dress with a full sweeping skirt. The base was white but embroidered from the shoulders down were thousands of black petals that fell like blossoms in a windstorm randomly to the hem. Valli’s genius and marvelous technique made it all look as though it was an act of nature.

The gowns that took us to the crescendo of the presentation shifted like a tide from grand, over the top creations of layer upon layer of chiffon and organza in many shades and prints of rose to sleek paillette covered surfaces of deep aubergine. Whether you wanted a scene stealing bravura gown or a haunting wisp of draped chiffon that trumpeted restraint, he offered them up in equal measure.

Giambattista Valli is an exciting Couturier to behold. His respect for the past and his free wheeling way of offering us a glimpse of the future keeps us on the edge of our gilded caned seats. Viva L’Alta Moda!

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