paris fashion week: giambattista valli
(images via style)
okay, so really, after taking a look at giambattista valli’s latest paris fashion week offering—for s/s 2013—i have no idea who he sees his customer as. there were some very pretty clothes, some very pretty ideas and some stellar craftsmanship, which we’ve seen from him in the past at rtw (see s/s 2012 & f/w 2012), but if his focus in this arena is usually on the day-to-day wear, i found myself thinking much the same as i did with dolce & gabbana’s f/w 2010 range—stunning from the top up, but where, like, are all the bottoms?
so i guess we’ll have to turn to the critics to help enlighten us. and rather humourously, us vogue professed that “there was an austerity to the line of the ready-to-wear (which did not include a single long evening dress), even if the fabrications were at times anything but austere….And while there were plenty of little jackets cut with a compass to suggest the soft-edged early-1960s couture look that Valli has always been drawn to, the narrow-leg pantsuits and linear, long-waisted jackets, and the hot pants (often veiled by transparent organza skirts) were thoroughly contemporary options for the chic-minded Valli girl.” uh. huh.
meanwhile, fashionologie informed us that “(a) distinctly minimalist bend gave Giambattista Valli’s… collection a cleaner, more refined edge than clothing he’s shown in past seasons…Take, for example, the simple sheer white shift dress decorated with beaded vines and rectangular white flower petals, or the lace applied to a red cocktail dress. None of these embellishments looked heavy. In fact, they appeared light as air, and so did Valli’s sharply tailored suiting and a variety of garments in a tweed-like gold fabric dotted with round rhinestones. This collection was pretty, and also pretty cleaned up.”
and style reflected that “(t)he show opened with a call and response between male and female—a sleeveless, double-breasted gray suit followed by a sheer white dress with a lacy tracery of leaves, a white leather blouson followed by a sheer tank. In Valli’s world, his women borrow clothes from their men—a suit jacket, track pants. The designer also obliged them with a striking hybrid, a white cotton shirt elongated into a jumpsuit. And the sheer shirttails that fell below the hems of skirts also fused masculine and feminine.”
“In the past,” they prattled on, “Valli’s alta moda leanings have steered him into airless cul-de-sacs. His new collection featured a crystallized tunic top and skinny pants that could have stepped straight off the Via Veneto in the early sixties, but it looked so good for right now that period quibbles were irrelevant. What changed? The literally sheer sleekness of the clothes Valli showed. Even his bourg-iest mamma look— a red lace suit with prim bows at the throat and waist—had a revealing swatch of organza heading earthward. The signora’s slip might have been showing, but she didn’t give a good goddamn.”
and in fashion week daily’s brief summation of the collection, they opined that “(t)he designer’s clean, tailored take on Spring was an exercise in transparency (lace, organza), texture (brocade), and suiting (shrunken jackets and cropped, tapered trousers). Particularly fetching? A crinkled, gold short-sleeved jacket, an ornately embellished tunic/trouser combo on Hanne, and a slouchy jacket/pencil skirt in a delightfully retro shade of yellow.”
and elsewhere, wwd mused that “(t)he first exit — a white-collared gray vest teamed with matching pants [above] — suggested that Valli might be branching out of his pretty dress comfort zone. Yet the next look was a white floral appliquéd shift, sweet and innocent in its appeal. He continued to switch back and forth between feminine and tailored, with some good looks on both sides. The designer played with fashion’s current fascination with transparency, here offering sheer dresses and skirts over matching panties.”
and they chattered on that “(h)e accented many with a solid panel at the hem, such as the embellished gold one on a white shift. There was a slight severity to some of these looks — he may want to consider linings for his more sophisticated clientele — but Valli balanced them with pretty crochet lace numbers. As for the crystal beading, it looked heavy on a day suit but worked well on a chic short-sleeve gold coat.”
“Floating white veils replaced skirts, with chunky underpants keeping things decent. The effect was of an X-ray — as though the women were walking out with a revelation of femininity that was more an idea than a reality. To put that another way: we are unlikely to see this particular combo on the shop floor. But the intriguing part of the display of flesh is that the models did not look like bad girls — more like the European jet set sitting in the front row. With beautifully sculpted jewelry and a graceful elegance, this was a surreal way for the designer to show how a woman can express her innate femininity,” was suzy menkes of the iht’s take.
and okay. but really, i don’t know how any working woman outside of the creative/fashion/art/music industry can pull off, like, showing her panties and calling it ‘elegance’. or am i getting old? because seriously, i cannot imagine that flying in my dad’s/friend’s/most acquaintance’s offices. so, like, hmm. i mean, many of the looks were absolutely delicious—the trousers, pantsuits, jackets, and the ‘real’ skirts. even those sheer dresses were gorgeous in their way (and on the catwalk). but i don’t know how comfortable i am with fashion trying to sell this hypersexualization of women and calling it ‘liberation’ or whatever. because although i firmly believe ladies can and ought dress outlandish or sensual as they please, i’m not convinced this new movement has motives beyond the old ones of, like, dressing girls up as items to be gawked at. and i realize there are more perspectives beyond this one, but it’s not clear to me the mainstream fashion industry has considered them beyond the basic cha-ching ($$$) of flashing a woman’s body for the appeal/shock value.
but. finally, i’ll be quiet and we’ll close with uk vogue’s take, yes? “To begin with it was all fairly sedate, workwear-orientated to a degree, but little by little Valli introduced those feminine and decorative details - the lace, the bows, the transparency - and worked them into the pieces. So there were little sheer under-slips to skirt and jacket combinations and there were thick bands of lace or metallic at the hem of a skirt - or the back would be lace entirely…It was as if each piece was a building block to a later look, Valli showcasing his craftsmanship and a new sense of versatility along the way, finally breaking down and revealing what we have known of him all along and where in the past it was sometimes too fussy and pretty to see.”
(see the video here)