For his spring/summer 2014 haute couture collection Giambattista Valli continued to mine well known territory. Sculptural dresses, often densely festooned with candy colored floral embellishments or prints, in virginal white or vivid color combinations were what the designer served up at the lycée Henri IV in Paris.
Where things shifted slightly was in his proportions. Instead of grandiose gowns he went with a much more sexy slant. Sending out quite a few looks that finished well above the models knees. To balance this shorter silhouette, Valli played with twisting, folding and draping stiff silk fabrics from the hips. A technique that continued throughout the collection when it moved into asymmetrical skirts that flowed down to the ground at the back and finally the more familiar full ball gown variety that rounded out the collection.
The inclusion of the hammered metal jewelry, which echoed the sliver geometric sculptures that sprouted up in the center of the catwalk was, as always, a key component of the show. They introduced a sense of solidity to this ultra feminine designs.
There were quite a few whispers in the front row that the collection had some sartorial inclinations that resembled those seen on Raf Simons’s debut show for Christian Dior. But even if that was the case Valli is not the only designer in the industry feeling the effect of Simons’s paradigm shifting couture creations.
The key for Valli is to find a way to give his designs a stronger sense of légèreté and youthful joie de vivre. He has mastered the monumental gowns, now its time to inject a feeling of effortlessness into the mix.