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Paris Haute Couture: Giambattista Valli S/S

If couture was a religion, then Giambattista Valli’s designs were fundamental followers this season. In a collection that breathed new life into the classic look of timeless dresses, an innovative blend of feminine embellishments and modern graphic prints. Filled with subtle shapes and smudged prints, Valli appealed to a new, younger generation of couture investors, seeking both classical style but with the all-important contemporary twist and whilst there was a clear divide between the two themes, they were nothing short of perfect.  

Inter-weaved between the different designs was one side of the classic take on couture; delicate, sophisticated and traditionally feminine. The gowns appealed to the classical stance in long skirts with parting skirts and layered tulle petticoats. The bustier was strapless and wrapped in tulle, on an angle to accentuate the curve of the waist and subsequent coverage of the skirt; clean, pure and refined in gentle shades of soft pink and white. Surface decoration varied included shimmering embroidery and crystallized organza flowers, flawlessly made for the Audrey Hepburn’s and Grace Kelly’s of the fashion scene. Not forgetting the the pragmatic side of modern evening wear, shorter party embraced the convenience of a higher hem line, but paid homage to the original style, densely embellished with beading and worn with an attached cape, stiff and unmoving like the skirt itself.

The other half of the ode to couture was embracing the modern hybrid of classic cuts with graphic prints. Continuing on from last seasons trends from other designers, the reinvented cigarette trousers were worn under billowing skirts, white with a black outline-brick pint or layered lave over smudgy shades grey. Naturally, with these skirts brings an emphasis on the waist, tightened in with bronze belts, sculpted in the shapes of woven fern leaves. Again, the also simultaneous shorter pieces were sharply tailored and textures jackets, with strong shoulders, covered twisted layers of mesh, worn with a chiffon embellished skirt. The subtle layers of volume in the front of the skirts and extended in the capes in the stream-line dresses added an extra dimension to the pieces, creating a fantastic balance between the classically cut dress, but with emphasis on the figure of the wearer, to whom embraces the inevitable sense of authority that comes with couture.

What is most striking about Valli’s work is the rate of his accomplishment in couture, purely based on his creative merit. Designers typically receive couture recognition after having shown at fashion week for 5 seasons. Valli however, has been inaugurated after three season, deeming that the quality of his work is beyond any validation of waiting for another two seasons. Whilst this is an outstanding accomplishment on paper, when looking at this season’s dresses and his past work as a collective whole,this achievement comes as no surprise. Designs that appeal to the roots of it’s industry whilst flawlessly integrating new designs, prints and clothing combinations deserve nothing less than full recognition.

Rosie Feenstra

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