Everyone’s talking about how experiences are trumping fashion, with consumers splashing out on restaurants, travel and home improvements.
Giambattista Valli invited some guests of his couture show on Monday night, held at the French Archives, to tour a space that had never been open to the public. Sheltered inside were rare documents from a host of French kings and the letters of Marie-Antoinette.
There wasn’t a stitch of lettering on the clothes, but a number of regal capes, and a sense of the extravagance before the French Revolution in 1789, after which the state decided to centralize private and public documents.
The collection was diverse, opening with simple cream silk tunics, shifts and trousers with the pressed-in folds Prada popularized — only Valli zinged them up with cages of crystal embroideries.
Then he switched gears several times, cycling through bulbous ballgowns in colored lace, Eighties minis in duchess satin with ruffled trains or feathered hems and sinuous tulle columns crawling with botanical and floral embroideries.
They all bore Valli’s celebration of unbridled femininity, as did bi-level chiffon gowns revealing toned legs in front and a long, fluttering train in the back. The show attracted his loyal Valli gals — from Bianca Brandolini to Lauren Santo Domingo and Olivia Palermo — along with a sprinkling of designers including Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Cavalli.
It also drew a small group of disgruntled staffers, who handed out leaflets at the entrance criticizing the French government for making the historic site available for a Fashion Week event. The revolution is alive and well.