The crisp lines of Giambattista Valli’s youthful and leggy fall collection popped against the vast white seamless photo studio, models whisking around in all directions in their high-heeled mary janes.
“A new dynamism,” Valli declared during a preview at his sunny Paris studio. “Everything is cut for free movement.”
He described the design exercise as tucking his Parisian inspirations under his arm — he’s been working in the French capital for well over 20 years now — and wandering through his native Rome picking up influences.
It was a simple theme that yielded a bounty of terrific minidresses, frothy and gossamer evening gowns, and neat yet body-hugging tweed suits that seemed conceived at the fantasy intersection of Rue Cambon and the Villa Borghese — all spiffied up with Valli’s overtly feminine brand of polish.
The display opened with taut tweed ensembles mostly in black and white, with velvet bows at the top of jackets a prim foil to the brief hemlines. Eventually the clothes accrued dense floral and porcelain motifs, or a ruffle here and there, and lavish decorations including allover sequins. White bib fronts looked cute on the Empire-line dresses, the dominant silhouette this season.
The designer took a breather from grand volumes, reserving his most dramatic puffs for the ends of long black gloves styled with about half a dozen looks.
Valli said his mission was to find “the perfect balance between the two cultures,” and indeed one got the spirit of Roman and Parisian couture of yore, crisped and zhuzhed up for what will hopefully be a return to celebrations and events.
The designer noted that demand for special-occasion styles is already on the uptick in many places in the world. Here was a bounty of options for young women ready to kick up their heels.