Gleaming metallic shards stacked on the runway for Giambattista Valli’s sixth couture show signaled a more modernist direction, in keeping with an emerging mood this high-fashion week.
The Italian designer went mainly short, sharp and sculptural, which shouldn’t be a problem for slender and leggy ladies like Elena Perminova, Miroslava Duma and Sutton Stracke, who sat in his front row.
Building on a base of ivory brocades, Valli gave each minidress an individual character by colorblocking with fabrics or strategically placed panels of embroidery. He drew additional attention to the hips by wrapping and twisting contrasting silks and rich brocades around them. Alternatively, he miniaturized his fetish fishtail gowns to create a host of short-yet-sloping hemlines.
Valli kept his treasured floral and botanical motifs, but rendered them in more artificial ways: blurring them, recoloring them in neon shades or obscuring them with geometric embroideries. While the allure was sometimes reminiscent of Raf Simons’ first collections for Dior, the combinations of texture and tone were often striking. Ruby crystals looked terrific nestled around the neckline of a soft pink satin bodice, yet Yves Klein blue cherry blossoms were borderline jarring on a hot pink gown.