PARIS, France — Right from the start of his career, Giambattista Valli has shown his double-sided creative personality, offsetting pure sartorial drama with dashes of fresh, fragile légèreté — yet never completely favouring one side over the other. The charm of this complexity is what makes his idiom so personal.
Yesterday's show was, if possible, about freshness getting fresher, but also a bit more wrought-out, decorative and seducingly rococo. Romantic, too, if you wish. Valli worked around a winter garden theme, taking inspiration from the wonderfully pictorial movie Russian Ark, directed by Alexander Sukorov. It made for lots of frills, blooms, and even balloon sleeves. Yet, Valli did it his own way: mixing historical references with a bit of modernism, making for highly charged, progressive contrasts.
Thereafter, hems were short and sharp, while extra-light fabrics lent a foamy touch to the proceedings, making everything look weightless instead of stuffed. Even furs, brightly coloured and richly embroidered, looked giddy and jolly, as far from status as possible. The overall effect was uplifting, and quite new in Valli-land. Until, of course, the three giant meringue ballgowns in the finale proved that Giambattista can still do drama proudly. Some things never change.