Backstage, the usually overflowing mood board at the Giambattista Valli show was strikingly zen this season. A few simple but nevertheless profound words: hypnotic, magic, kaleidoscopic, comfortable femininity and — most evocative — tantric. Underneath them were engrossingly beautiful porthole-like images which Valli had discovered. They had been done by an unknown Indian artist from the 18th century to be contemplated to help induce a meditative state.
There was much to contemplate on the designer’s catwalk as well. The bright and bold mixing of colors, floral patterns and sculptural flourishes were a shock to the senses.
The late ‘60s early/‘70s vibe of the show, with all its minidresses/tops/tunics worn with tailored slightly bell bottomed trousers, would look right at home on a modern-day Laugh-In.
“It is a continuation of the haute couture, where I wanted to have the trousers under the dresses,” said Valli after his show. “This is becoming more and more my signature. Before I was like all about dresses and now, you know, it’s the new thing.”
It was a remark that made it worth looking at this show from a different angle. By pulling apart a floral jacquard pants from a black and white checked top, or separating a puff rounded-shouldered white lace dress that featured a gold checkerboard motif bodice from the knee-high lace-up heels the model wore with it, the individual pieces were able to stand on their own merit. Also, breaking any one of these looks out of the lineup, separating it from the herd if you will, made it easier to appreciate the simple and beautifully crafted silhouette of each design.
In the end there was a method to all the clashing madness on the Valli catwalk. By being overwhelmed by everything that was woven into this show, the audience just had to finally let go…and go with the flow.