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Giambattista Valli is going around in circles

Published
today Jan 22, 2019
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Giambattista Valli, who has proved he can do tailoring and cut with real aplomb, needs, quite simply, to move.


Giambattista Valli - Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2019 - Paris - Photo: Giambattista Valli


He staged a very charming couture collection inside the Pompidou Centre on a freezing Monday night in Paris. Yet, one could not help thinking it was all far, far too familiar.
 
Initially, one held out hope that Valli would finally break the mold with this show. He opened with some really exceptionally punchy and clever looks, sleek ensembles of glitteringly embroidered mini skirts paired with cristal ramage stops. One worn with a Turkish fez was truly sensational, adding a risqué, hotter quotient to Giambattista’s oeuvre. 

It kicked off the show well before a cool audience that included Victoria’s Secret model Cindy Bruna in demure white lace; actress Kate Beckinsale; Olivia Palermo; Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and the truly ubiquitous Chiara Ferragni.
 
However, Valli then almost immediately reverted to type. Showing some superbly made – but again very recognizable – voluminous ball-gowns, diaphanous dresses and tent-like evening gowns so large you could hide a classroom of school children beneath them.
 

Giambattista Valli - Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2019 - Paris - Photo: Giambattista Valli


Many of them looked beautiful, especially the remarkable sculpted dresses made of dense tulle. But there was no real sense of a designer stretching himself; actually building a complete modern wardrobe. Something all of us would be very curious to see given Valli’s unquestioned talent.
 
The French have a term for it: tourner en rond, meaning to go around in circles. And the sand in the gears is this designer’s own refusal to truly stretch himself into newer forms.
 
In a word, Giambattista Valli’s fashion needs a new paradigm.

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