At the Giambattista Valli show in Paris, the customary socialites were joined by a new flock: drag queens Miss Fame and Nicky Doll, non-binary actor Lachlan Watson, transgender model Raya Martigny and Rick Owens in his signature black platform boots.
It was a clear indication that the label is no longer a stomping ground of Ladies Who Lunch, but speaks to a wider constituency. Just as Billie Eilish put her own spin on the Chanel tweed suit at the Oscars, Valli has updated his signature take on Parisian chic for a Gen Z audience.
“You have to be young in spirit in 2020,” the designer said backstage.
He’s been making his own versions of the iconic tweed jacket for as long as he can remember. The style, one of the brand’s perennial bestsellers, came in a classic version — a monochrome suit with a split skirt — but also a more street-savvy take: paired with jacquard denim logo jeans and oversize hoops.
Minimalist black short suits, a departure for the label, were spliced in among the familiar embroidery, inspired this season by the pink flowers on a Meissen porcelain tea set, or the gold chinoiserie motifs on antique furniture.
In fact, nothing here was too precious. Lace or chiffon cocktail dresses were as likely to be paired with thick-soled black ankle boots as with glittery heels. Strings of pearls were draped, guerrilla-style, across the chest. And a pink ostrich feather skirt suit was worn as nonchalantly as an embroidered black sweatshirt.
Valli’s woman also lives her sexuality on her own terms: she might wear a sheer gray chiffon blouse without a bra, or conversely layer a white turtleneck under an off-the-shoulder black evening gown — whatever floats her boat. So tear up your etiquette books: there’s a new social order in town.