Giambattista Valli Promised You a Rose Garden: His Spring Couture



    Giambattista Valli didn’t give away the name of his florist when asked who supplied the impressive arrangement of roses dominating his backstage interview suite, and those attached to the ponytails of models at his ravishing spring haute couture show.

    “It’s a Japanese lady who has a boutique next to Place des Vosges and she always has the most amazing flowers,” he enthused, lauding her taste for unusual colors and shapes.

    But before you rush out in search of his source material, treat yourself to Valli’s fashion interpretation — a collection rich in color, fantasy, floral embellishment and a host of new volumes, the grandest done in mottled silks this time, instead of his trademark tulle.

    He opened his show quietly — ish — with a black velvet bodysuit that represented a Stockman, one of the building blocks of couture. Out of the bustier top bloomed a few dozen fabric rosettes. A corset, a common foundation for flou, came draped with tulle which shot out the back into a grand, jutting bouffant.

    Roses were a recurring theme at couture last season, but Valli may never tire of his garden inspirations, noting that “nature is infinite” during a backstage preview. “Spring is always coming and there is always something blooming,” he said.

    A black-and-white story — which took its cues from muslin prototypes, or toiles, the raw material for experimentation — was interspersed among the colorful and printed dresses. These were also the beneficiary of Valli’s research into new shapes, including a black velvet bodice with voluminous, inset sleeves that yielded to a simple, flattering drape of white satin.

    He called it the “art of giving volumes through the cuts, through the art of draping and really pushing the boundaries in the atelier.”

    Occasionally sleeves swelled to the size of cushions in a five-star hotel, and fishtail gowns ended in giant, layered folds of fabric.

    Valli holds the torch for grandeur in couture, and his efforts yielded a multitude of new silhouettes, and that dreamy feeling that has been drained from fashion in the wake of the quiet-luxury juggernaut.

    “Some shows look a bit like ready-to-wear with embellishment,” he said, without naming names. “I like the idea that haute couture is really haute couture.”

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