PARIS, France — These days, everybody wants to do a Vetements: all of a sudden, the gritty harshness of the underground has turned into the inspiration of choice. They call it realism, but in fact it's just another mise-en-scene. Fashion as catwalk fantasy and true reality are at odds by definition. This said, it is quite difficult to resist the urge to turn into the nth angel of the avant-garde. That's what the air du temps seems to be asking for. But it's all a matter of keeping your integrity.
Giambattista Valli knows how. Of late he has been toning down the ladylike splendour of his ready-to-wear collections in favour of concise modernism with a jolie madame after-taste. Today's show was another step in this direction.
"This is reality as I see it: my own reality," Valli conceded backstage, pointing at the precise dresses layered with knitted bustiers, at the short coats with disturbance jacquard patterns, at the duffel coats closed with multiple straps. The motif carried into the shoes, a slightly fetishistic hybrid of pump and boot.
This was certainly Valli at his most modern and sharp, with an unprecedented stress on outerwear. It made for an interesting move forward. At the core, however, Valli kept the focus on his very own pièce de résistance: the dress, mixing floaty chiffons with the season's precision. They worked well, because they felt fresh and uncontrived. This is realism, too: the realism of sticking to his core business while evolving slowly but steadily.