Paris Haute Couture 2015: Giambattista Valli – The Princess’s Go-To Guy
For pretty much every woman across the world, there comes a time in life when we realize that we all have an inner-princess lurking somewhere inside us. Some of us do well to keep this hidden, preferring more of an androgynous, less typically feminine approach to fashion and that is absolutely fair enough. However, I really do defy anyone not to be struck by the magic of the Italian designer Giambattista Valli and the way he emanates femininity at a somewhat extreme level with his beautifully crafted couture floor-length gowns. In princess terms, I could very much picture him as the guy that dressed Cinderella for the ball…
This is ever present in his SS15 collection, which hit the catwalk in Paris on Tuesday. Although it is definitely worth noting that there was a considerable edge to these traditional princess gowns, starting with the fact that every model (carefully handpicked from modeling agencies in New York, Paris, London and Milan) was adorned with a black net veil, much in the style of the 1930s. However, just to throw in an added edge back towards the princess look, each veil was topped with a black bow – as if to confuse us even more!
Giambattista Valli has had quite the year with celebrities such as Amal Clooney – the new princess of the celebrity world if you will – giving his beautiful floral, bell skirted creations even more exposure worldwide. This year’s couture front row was no exception hosting the key players from London, Paris and NYC modeling agencies, not to mention every fashion magazine editor worth their salt from across the globe.
The SS15 collection itself maintained some traditional elements, very much incorporating white lace and ruffles – particularly focussed on the neck and hemline – so soft-looking I’m sure every guest at the show wanted to reach out and touch them. There was also the inclusion of soft pastel floral stitching, huge bows tying in the princess waistline and gold/silver shimmering embellishment. However, the major step away from convention in this particular show was the dramatic use of black, tied in to every single outfit. This was displayed in many variations including the model’s headwear, footwear or even taking over the entire look itself. This is much more of a ‘Maleficent’ approach than one of a Disney princess but Giambattista Valli is clearly not wanting to fall into the category of being predictable.
Another dimension that this couture show added to the Giambattista Valli collection was the unprecedented use of layering, which even saw a dress being worn over the top of a pair of pants, with a ruffled cape thrown over for good measure. There were also notably ‘out-there’ uses of modern patterns, including a very unique take on the traditional houndstooth print that found its way on to pant-suits and tailored petticoats.
The impression we’re left with at the end of the show is that the new Giambattista Valli princess has an edge. She is not one to be messed with now and who knows what we can expect in the future. I, for one, really can’t wait to see.