Celebrating ten years in the business, Giambattista Valli ended the night with an extravagant "Flower Obsession Ball" at the Opéra Garnier, complete with a floral dress code, colorful blooms projected onto every surface, and a brand new set of M.A.C. lipsticks in hues inspired by the pinks of his haute couture. But before that, the designer's 9th haute couture was par for the course. Flowers and colors are what women want from Valli, and that's what they got, to a point.
Clinical neons above the runway gave the black-and-white triangles of striped carpeting a very dizzying Op Art glare. The opening looks were like ruffled spores, sculpted hemispheres clinging to hems or to the backs of models. Soon enough, they blossomed out into the breadth of his glamorous silhouettes. Lean pairings of long tunics over slightly flared pants kept things more Slim Aarons than Flower Power, proposing a more grown-up notion. Short shifts had a bit of kick to them, showing enough leg to satisfy the younger Valli girls. Not that it would matter, but there were even embellished "t-shirts" hiding under honeycomb embroideries and other ruffles.
The pure lines of his designs, with a vaguely Sixties flavor to them, gave plenty of space – and fabric – to elaborate surface adornments. Although the flower motif, that habitual Valli signature, was everywhere, his blooms this season were not always of the natural variety. Glass flowers and raised embroideries of vines crawled up available surfaces. Crisp looking petals stuck out. Even the printed lilies-of-the-valley were artistically digitized. Likewise the color palette – you could see where the lilac and orange had come from. Black and white threw yellow and green in stark contrast. It was the future of flora, seen through the crystal-adorned round lenses of retro-modernity. For all the twinkling, sparkling, shimmering (all those giant silver rhodoids, beads and crystals, marabout trims), it was as slick as a glossy picture, more ritzy than romantic.
By the time the show came to its ball gowns, the closing group, their lengthy flurries of tulle ruffles trailing behind them, looked almost blowsy from their effort of being in full bloom, an effort as intensive as the energy required to drag that much tulle down the carpeted runway. Perhaps the length of the runway diluted their effervescence somewhat, but from the applause, there was still plenty of fizz to go around.
(Re)discover the Spring/Summer 2015 Haute Couture collection right here.