PFW A/W '10 show report: Giambattista Valli

09 March 2010

I think by now it’s fair to say that there are three sexes in the human race. There are men, there are women and there are ‘Giamba Girls’. This third sex comes with impossibly long legs and implausibly full social diaries. They are a breed apart and at the centre of their universe is Giambattista Valli, a man who manages the impossible in this competitive world, to be a friend to them all. GV as he is also known, is the natural heir to the kings of the cocktail circuit: Valentino, Oscar De La Renta, Emanuel Ungaro. He gets luxury on a level that is completely sympathetic with the needs of his client. The Giamba Girl is not a concept that exists only in a marketing executive’s imagination. She is flesh and blood and generally comes with a surname that is also a either a big brand or a small country (Queen Rania of Jordan  and Margherita Missoni).

She may not be restricted by the same financial constraints as the rest of us but for A/W ‘10 she too is looking to strip back, pare down and re-assess her wardrobe. For her, Giambattista revised the more sculptural excesses of his signature style. The new Valli simplicity was equally luxurious but vaguely reminiscent of 1960’s jet set. Think Princess Margaret engaged to Anthony Armstrong Jones. The signature GV cocoon silhouette had shrunk to the gentle bubble back on a camel pea coat, or the ripple of softly padded cloque silk panels on a down evening jacket. All were balanced on sling back kitten heels.

In the end with GV it’s the little touches of luxury that count: a simple A line black and tan shift that hit mid thigh (told you those girls’ legs are legendary) was trimmed with a vibrant orange grosgrain ribbon. A pretty point d’esprit shift with black beaded skirt had a waist picked out with a pink silk band. With those frills and beads and bows and kitten heels you have a look that could easily slip into girlishness but what you get from Giambattista Valli is a breezy but super refined femininity.

For evening he let the vamp out and floor length filmy chiffon evening dresses got tuxedo jackets slung over the top and massive catwalk wide confections made from sculpted tulle showed that while the rest of the world is dressing down, you can’t keep a Giamba Girl from her drop dead conversation stopping gowns!

- Paula Reed in Paris


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