There’s no denying the beauty of Paris, even in the pouring rain—and there’s been plenty of miserable weather to go around these past few days. Giambattista Valli appreciates the melancholic allure of the city, and more importantly, the women who inhabit it. His latest collection was, in essence, a love letter to French girl style of the most romantic and soigné kind. La petite robe noire, or the little black dress in English, has been a linchpin of a Parisian wardrobe for more than half a century, and it’s one that’s close to Valli’s heart. He reimagined that look with his trademark, ultra-feminine flair and most of the dresses came with buoyant, peplum ruffles that either swished at the knee or swept the floor. There was a slightly perverse twist in silhouette in the form of waist-cinching corsets, a kinky fetish trend that’s been bubbling up on the runway as well as the street, thanks to supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. The results were sophisticated and sexy all at the same time and fit right into Valli’s sensual vision.
There were unexpected explorations of the LBD in the mix too, including billowing black peasant blouses that were paired with Nike leggings and open-toed lace-up boots. The myth of La Femme Parisienne generally revolves around café culture—think: cigarettes and lipstick-stained cups of black coffee—and yet these days even the French aren’t immune to the idea of wellness and working out. Valli’s reimagining of athleisure was anything but sloppy; in fact, he seemed to be underlining the fact that the conventional lines in our wardrobe seem to be dissolving altogether. Where wearing running tights or yoga pants to brunch used to be taboo, it’s now totally acceptable. So who’s to say they can’t be reworked for cocktail hour?
Valli front row star Charlotte Casiraghi understands the changing nature of occasion-dressing more than most. She arrived at the show today wearing a lace bomber jacket with simple black pants; delicate and elegant, yes, but hardly what you’d think of as princess-worthy. As someone who balances royal duties with real-world ones—she is the editor-at-large of Above, a sustainable lifestyle magazine—Casiraghi is expected to wear many hats in any one day, like many women in Valli’s fabulous circle of friends. And while the collection offered unexpected examples of evening, starting with those athletic looks, the unabashed prettiness that Valli is known for was still a proposition that was hard to beat, and included boudoir-inspired French polka-dot gowns and an ethereal white lace dress peppered with charming sequined cherries; carte blanche for women all over the world to indulge their most decadent fashion fantasies.
Paris, March 6th. 2017. Article written by Chioma Nnadi.