Fresh from the news that he has a new investor — French billionaire François Pinault, no less — Giambattista Valli decided to say it with flowers, with a fall couture show that was an ode to spring gardens.
Pinault sat in a curved outdoor gallery at the Petit Palais, swept by the last rays of a blinding summer sun, alongside guests including pop diva Céline Dion and Valli’s faithful young socialite set — Olivia Palermo, Lauren Santo Domingo, Bianca Brandolini, et al.
Models picked their way across the mosaic floor on needle-thin black satin platform stilettos that accentuated the thinness of their legs, poking out of minidresses embellished with lace, sequins, embroideries and macramé in dense floral textures.
These alternated with draped chiffon dresses in pastel shades, including one that Valli described as “cuisse de nymphe émue” — an old variety of rose known in English as Great Maiden’s Blush. Valli’s sylphs may look inoffensive, but their blood-red lipstick and killer heels suggested otherwise.
“Nymphs and muses,” the designer said after the show. “The idea is to have this kind of freshness of these innocent girls, but with a slightly perverse touch.”
He added structure with panels of jet bead embroidery and bold graphic accents — wide black-and-white bands on the waist of a floral-print dress with a lampshade petticoat skirt, or a thick black bow on a bouclé tweed skirt suit edged with crystals.
There were 18th-century references aplenty, especially in the romantic silk faille evening dresses with gardenia or lily of the valley embroideries. And then, of course, there were Valli’s showstoppers — ballgowns made of sprays of pleated tulle with huge sweeping trains.
After the models made one last, leisurely sweep of the venue for the show’s finale — trains and heels don’t make good bedfellows — Dion jumped to her feet to applaud the designer. All that was missing was an actual bouquet.
More From Paris Haute Couture Week Fall 2017:
Backstage at Giambattista Valli Couture Fall 2017: Val Garland and James Pecis created the beauty look of the show.
Backstage at Christian Dior Couture Fall 2017: Peter Philips and Guido Palau fashioned the beauty look of the show.
Atelier Versace Couture Fall 2017: The collection blended Baroque references and rock ‘n’ roll — with a soupçon of 3-D printing.
Iris Van Herpen Couture Fall 2017: For her 10th anniversary show, the designer sent out aquatic-themed creations to a performance by underwater group Between Music.