paris fashion week: giambattista valli

(images via style)

so quite honestly, i tend to be much more a fan of designer giambattista valli‘s recently-launched haute couture atelier (see a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013) in all its sublime elegance than his ready-to-wear work (see s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013, pre-fall 2013), but i’ll nevertheless also say that i can appreciate how, much like elie saab, who also does both, he’s clever in that he tries not to allow one label to poach the clientele of the other, focusing the more upscale work on evening and formalwear, and the rtw shows on day/work dressing (if a lot of fur can work its way into your day, that is).

anyway, for his a/w 2013 presentation at paris fashion week, style related that the designer “admitted he’s finally got his two worlds sorted: Prêt-à-porter is inspired by his personal experiences; haute couture is his fantasy. Where once they were borderline, now there is no dialogue between the two. So his latest collection flowed on organically from Spring, particularly in the casual interplay of masculine and feminine elements. It may have been Valli’s most accomplished ready-to-wear offering to date. It was certainly his easiest. It opened with a parka and closed with a car coat, both accompanying casual pieces in pristine white.”

and the fashion spot described how mr. valli “gave his signature feminine looks a sportswear twist. Showing a predominantly black and white collection, Fall 2013 included oversized parkas, sweatshirts, flat loafers and a safari vest. No matter the look, however, pieces were clean and polished so as keep things in line with the designer’s sophisticated aesthetic (think fur-lined turtlenecks). Outerwear was particularly notable this season and included fur-lined collars. Floral and animal prints, crystal embellishments and ruffles — all Valli signatures — popped up as well making for covetable cocktail dresses and floaty skirts.”

then, according to uk vogue, there was “a sense of practicality and a good helping of coats leading the line-up here. ‘I like to find a balance between boy meets girl by melding their wardrobes together,’ he said to account for the utilitarian coats and trousers alongside Pierrot-spilling collars, lipstick-red florals and pastel pinks of draped sheer skirts and svelte fur dresses. He gave us his signature cocoon shapes and added in seemingly moth-bitten loose jumpers as well as a sweatshirt shape or two, bejewelled as we have seen them across the board this season.”

“So here,” they rattled along, “we had a couple of sparkly gowns at the end but they came with big utilitarian and be-zipped coats on top, restraining that glamour and tempering it for the here and now. There were a lot of ideas going on in this collection, sometimes too many and it became a little convoluted – there was lots of fur too for collars, arms and waist details and there were some leopard sequins also – but this definitely felt like Valli was making headway with defining his two lines: practical and real versus the unreal and dreamy. Another sign of this was the launch of his first Valli bag. A designer bag, after all, is the way to bring your label to the people or at least give them the chance to have a bite of the brand. ”

elsewhere, we heard fashionlogie clock in that “(t)he first few looks down the runway, mostly white and cream, combined garments like a safari vest with a chiffon cocktail dress, or paired a skirt in the floaty material with a crisp white shirt and an overcoat with a fur-lined hood. That dichotomy played out through the rest of the show, with Valli eventually succumbing to his penchant for glamorous women’s clothing. A suit in a floral print was paired with a shirt whose ruffles spilled out of the blazer, and the last few looks served up the kind of sparkly red-carpet glamour Valli is known for.”

“Valli largely stuck to a black and white palette, often showing different shades of the latter in one look, occasionally infusing flashes of lipstick red and blush pink,” wwd said. “Many of his oversize white parkas had a utilitarian feel and were teamed with soft ivory dresses draped with a romantic hand. ‘It’s this idea of girls meeting boys,’ he said, ‘and melting together the two wardrobes.’ The flat, white-soled loafers that punctuated many of the looks nicely illustrated that idea. Throughout, the designer worked furs in new and compelling ways: as turtlenecklike collars, wide trims on short sleeves, thick necklines and wide belts. A chic metallic astrakhan fur coat underscored the collection’s rich feel.”

meanwhile, the washington post offered that “(s)anitized-looking white coats with pockets, studs and zippers — and sometimes fur collars for warmth — looked functional and highly wearable. The same could be said of the many black looks such as a coat, double-breasted sleeveless top and waistcoat with hanging sleeves. Great metallic bows, splashes of on-trend vermilion, and some great orange-red flower prints on silk did add some excitement, but the collection shown in Paris on Monday remained relatively mute — in line with the season in general. ‘The fantasy (style) is much more for haute couture…Right now, it’s growing up. They are practical kind of looks.'”

then, elle related that “this collection really didn’t require an explanation; it was perfectly clear who Valli’s woman was this season (one only had to be backstage), what it was he wanted to say and how successful the result. Valli is an expert at wardrobing a certain money-no-object woman and they come to him their droves for his modern couture – even his ready to wear has a couture-crafted feel. Don’t mistake these young women for the clichéd ladies who lunch types – although, the big thing with Valli is that his clothes are ageless so his appeal probably encompasses both. But essentially, Valli’s women are after his strong, clean-cut, beautifully crafted clothes.”

“They will adore the way he put flat ponyskin loafers with a chic black lacquered jumpsuit or with his romantic draped silk dresses,” they trilled along. “As for hitting the season’s key trends, he did that too: leopard prints (a signature he developed at his last couture show) appeared here in split-front skirts and plain tops; another power print was the vibrant red rose on black. There was even a luxed-up sporty vibe on the punchy red loose suit that zippered back to reveal a red mink lining. The funnel neck also played a major role, in fur or crystal. In fact the neck became something of a focus on fluid chiffons, where soft floating bows added just the right quotient of femininity.”

and fashion week daily noted that “(t)he key here lay in the strategic layers, whether a furry vest zipped up over a draped silk frock, or a sleek, fur-trimmed dress-coat peeking out beneath a larger, woolly variation. But no urbanite can suffice on creamy neutrals alone. Hence, the spate of moodier numbers that followed, from animal print shifts patched with fur bibs to a liquid black turtleneck jumpsuit, complete with ponyskin loafers. Noteworthy standouts this season were in the pantsuit department, with ‘most memorable; awards handed out to a minty, crystal bedecked number and a striking black design blooming with red roses and topped off with a flouncy, bow-tie blouse.”

“with this collection, Mr. Valli proved that he has a divide-and-rule policy about his different lines that is working very well,” opined the iht‘s suzy menkes. “His love of excess and decoration had been banished from this show, which was based on fur used in different ways, from coats to waist trims. It was also focused on the imperfect, with holes deliberately placed in sweaters — not such an original fashion idea but still adding to the feel that this collection could hit the streets and maybe even the slopes. There were some flashes of color and decoration: familiar animal prints, bold orange flowers and unexpected pastels, one almond green coat scattered with snowy sparkles. This was winter at its most glamorous — but wearable.”

finally, though, it was us vogue, ringing in that “(h)is decision to do everything in mostly black and white and abstain from a lot of frou or texture (save for a flouncy bow neck on a chiffon blouse and crystal embellishment on a mint-green tracksuit—remember, minimalism is relative) meant that what he offered was very much a daytime definition of this label. To use an overused word, they were basics. They may have been basics with panels of mink, but they were basics nonetheless. Perhaps the strongest sign that this collection reflected the evolution of Valli’s ladies and himself as a designer is the debut of his first bag, the Valli. It’s a discreet, subtly elegant accessory in beautifully crafted leather with a rectangular shape and top handle.”

(enjoy a short collection video here)

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