Giambattista Valli Fall 2022 Couture

Giambattista Valli was not about to make any timid, scaled-back statement when he returned to the couture runway in Paris for the first time since 2019. “I think the most powerful lesson of the last couple of years was really to enjoy the moment, live in the moment,” he mused backstage an hour before he sent out 59 extravagant looks. After all, this is his 10th anniversary as a couturier. And nothing in Valli’s world succeeds like joyful excess.

He called the collection ‘L’Instant’ and smothered the set with party balloons. On his inspiration board was a picture of people eagerly jostling to get into Studio 54 in New York in the 1970s, juxtaposed with photos of rambling roses in an English garden. These symbolized the “two sides of the coin for me,” he said. “The first part is when I put a line on white paper; the other is expansive, like when you give someone flowers, bouquets of flowers.”

Valli most certainly knows how to entice a girl have a good time. The opening all-white looks—“simple” in his mind—were a glorious parade of ostrich and crystal-trimmed dresses, accessorized with fabulously oversized mirrored butterfly sunglasses and giant glittery chandelier earrings. To match, there were puffed-up hair-extensions lacquered and beribboned in homage to the aristo-dos concocted by Mr. Kenneth of New York and Alexandre de Paris.

Valli’s superb command of techniques got him, an Italian, elected by the powers that be in Paris as a worthy member of the haute couture fashion week a long time ago. He reminded us of exactly why that was the case as he treated us to a bravura demonstration of flou, opera coats made entirely of curled feather, tiny dresses that were mostly made of swags of crystal necklaces, dense silver and paillette embroidery, and crunchy looking 3-D flower embroidery.

By about look 37, Valli had given himself over to the expansive, voluminous, single-punchy-color side of his nature. He is an amazing colorist. At some point, when the ruffles had become as dense as humanly possible, it looked as if the girls were carrying entire, neatly clipped hedges and lawns as trains. Bravo to Giambattista Valli for all the moments that he’s lit up the Paris runway like this.

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