Now this is what couture is all about. The drama, the fantasy, the over-the-top frivolity, not to mention the craftsmanship so adept it leaves no trace. Garments look so impeccably made that they couldn’t possibly be made by a skill so tangible as sewing – they’re held together by magic, right?
We’re sure the seamstresses and behind-the-scenes couturiers wished that were true. Instead, the making of a collection such as this will have taken hundreds of hours of meticulous work, so it’s a good job their work results in pieces of art in fashion form that results in rapturous applause as it walks the runway. That’s the thing with skill, isn’t it? It makes things look effortless – a trait that’s bestowed to the wearer in the case of couture, and especially Giambattista Valli. Decadent, frothy, sherbet-hued confections have become his calling card, and if that’s what you’re into, you’re hardly going to want to settle for anything less than the work of the master.
"Decadent, frothy, sherbet-hued confections have become his calling card"
Luckily, for Couture AW17, he didn’t disappoint – and he also offered something new. For the old guard, there were skirts and gowns in pleated layers of tulle – some cut higher at the front. Mullet dress may be the term so often use for this particular style, but that would belie their cool elegance – it’s more like a face-framing fringe with sweeping locks. Sheer gowns came embroidered with flowers, some kept their volume restrained and flowing, others let it puff from the waist with abandon. These were proper dressing up pieces for real-life fashion fairy tales – and no one does it better than Valli. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps for the young and uninitiated, were mini dresses – gateway Giambattista garments. Moddish shift or ra-ra dresses were printed with graphic blooms or adorned with black sequins, lace or floral macramé; others exuded a Grecian air with toga-esque draping in daffodil or apricot silk. Girly, for sure, but also with edge. A common thread between them all – spiky black stilettoes, part platform, part Mary Jane. Nothing saccharine about these. They spoke to today’s cool-girl, the one who’s into shocking, contrasting style. Tweed with PVC; lucite heels with jeans; corsets over T-shirts. The looks sat somewhere between coquette and femme fatale, but they did so with ease – remember, that’s the beauty of couture.
Whether you’re just getting into couture or, enviably, have a wardrobe full of it, no one is going to make you feel more like the most feminine, enchanting version of yourself than Giambattista Valli. That’s something you can’t get off the rack.