Giambattista Valli Couture Spring Summer 2013 Paris
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It was a rather fitting choice to hold the Giambattista Valli haute couture show at the Italian Embassy here in Paris. The designer has always been proud of his Italian heritage and even though he now lives and works in France his style has maintained that bella figura flare. That is to say highly polished, perfectly groomed and often curvy silhouettes.
 
In the past, that love of volume plus his fascination with embellishments and highly decorative designs had been criticized for being a bit too heavy handed in its execution. A better fit to the bygone era when changing for dinner and debutant balls were common place. However, with this spring summer collection, Valli was able to channel those ornamental tendencies into a more controlled and equally beautiful collection.

Valli is a master when it comes to creating evocative patterned fabrics and he extrapolated on that gift in his daywear. It was an exploration of black and white animal prints that moved from the first exit; an hourglass evening coat in a lynx pattern that the designer stretched out to abstraction through a tiered white organza mini dress with a band of black velvet cut to mimic a crocodile skin; to a seamlessly constructed curve hugging top and short skirt that was covered in beadwork which elegantly imitate a tiger’s stripes.

 Then suddenly the magnetic animal prints gave way to Valli’s other favorite touchstone emblem, blooms. Spun sugar pink dresses covered in flowers crafted out of everything from crystal embroidery to wispy feathers floated down the runway, looking princess perfect. However the shift between the two distinctly different ideas was a bit jarring.
 
But never mind. Valli has a die hard following of pretty young things who could care less if this collection was cohesive. They just want to look breathtakingly beautiful. The designer didn’t let them down.

- Jessica Michault

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