Exploring femininity

VOGUE/ AFP – Although a resident in Paris for 22 years now, Giambattista Valli remains an outsider who relishes with his outsider’s eye the spectrum of French femininity that he sees on the streets near his digs by Canal Saint-Martin.

Pearls and silver beads served as oversized buttons on an opening epauletted cape in rose macaron pink and boucle sahariennes, and also made for piping on richly flecked mademoiselle jackets and matching high-split skirts. Later, pearls were also wrapped in choker tiers not only around the models’ necks but around the shoulder and under the arm.

A Meissen-inspired floral pattern was embroidered on prim overcoats and into sheer lace dresses in black-and-white as well as printed onto tiered and flouncy mid-height mousseline dresses.

A Chinoiseries pattern was etched in sequin on soft suiting and a short kimono dress as well as embroidered in the full black tulle skirt of a strapless dress. Cutesy black bows garlanded headpieces, shoes, and the back of little black dresses. The closing pink dress was also bowed at the hip. The garçonnes-inspired tailoring was composed of fluted skirt jackets and overcoats, often double-breasted and teamed with diligently-pressed black shorts.

Wilder touches included the veiled crystal headpieces and a little black dress whose neckline was guarded by a coiled crystal snake. An expertly processed snapshot of multiple Paris-girl paradigms, this was a collection delivered with great affection: an homage to Valli’s adopted home city and the women who walk its streets.