Giambattista Valli divided his assured, low-key spring show into two chapters, the first dedicated to ivory looks inspired by artist Yoko Ono. “She’s an icon not only for her style, but also for her state of mind,” the designer said backstage, musing that she shares fundamental characteristics with the Valli woman. “She’s independent, a free spirit and has a beautiful soul.” The show was set to Ono’s “Mrs Lennon” song, with guests seated on a plush beige shag carpet that crept from the floor over benches. It was cushy — although probably not comfortable enough for a full Ono-style bed-in.
Silhouettes then became more exotic. The designer was reading Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “The Scent of India” while designing the collection, and imagined the effect a trip to India would have had on Ono’s wardrobe.
Flashes of tiger print were seen on skirts, trousers and jackets, stamped with a small circular logo. Thick gold chains with stone pendants hung around necks, while some models sported leather fringed stoles over long dresses. Dresses embroidered with a sequined lip pattern felt like a footnote, but were soon forgotten.
Though Valli has been expanding his brand’s vocabulary since its acquisition by the Pinault family’s investment arm, Groupe Artémis — both François Pinault and his son François-Henri took in the show — he literally bloomed with his signature romantic dresses. While the outfits looked printed from afar, everything was actually richly embroidered. Flowers crept along hemlines and sleeves, both on androgynous denim separates and flowing dresses, culminating in particularly impressive allover patterns in the final looks.
Just don’t call Valli’s designs superfeminine. “When you say superfeminine, for me it means sex bomb,” said the designer. “The Valli woman’s femininity is balanced, nothing is forced. It’s just who she is.”