Couture is not all crinolines and corsets. It is also silk duchesse bandeau tops, high-waisted wool trousers, and the bare midriff that lies between them.
“The idea of youth is important,” Giambattista Valli declared backstage tonight, stating the obvious, “because I have a very young customer. They give a new attitude to haute couture—or at least to my eyes.” This was an indeed a very youthful effort from Valli, leggy in the extreme when the accent wasn’t on the midriff. After that bandeau-top-and-pants combination he showed a group of minidresses, embroidered with a flurry of feathers to resemble, he said, the texture of a Francis Picabia painting, or featuring major, major sleeves.
He fell hard for the short-in-front-long-in-back silhouette made famous by Stephanie Seymour in Guns N’ Roses’s “November Rain” video circa 1991. Versions came in silk chiffon, Chantilly lace, the tulle he so loves, and even faux fur. It’s a cheeky, playful silhouette, but with its long train it’s no more practical for a night of dancing than a full ball gown. That’s why our money is on the minidresses. Though there was something devilishly clever about the evening ensemble in coral silk faille that riffed on a sweat suit. The “sweatshirt” trailed behind the model like a parachute.
Speaking of the young, 21-year-old Zendaya wore a draped goddess gown by Valli to the Academy Awards in March and made all the best dressed lists. So it’s no surprise there were variations on it here: one in black silk crepe against which three diamond necklaces by Chopard glimmered, and another in electric-pink silk chiffon. Flou is a category ripe for further exploration by Valli. Those two dresses had a sensual ease the appeal of which would be multigenerational.