Giambattista Valli Marries Youth and Sophistication for Fall/Winter 2016

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Giambattista Valli's clothes took on a innocent personality, even when their reality was more sophisticated than that.

While Giambattista Valli’s formula for floaty, feminine dresses has not changed much over the seasons, added variables have transmuted his codes, making them more wearable than ever. Where his clothes are typically effervescent, they were weighter this time around, anchored by dense floral embroidery bonded to gorgeous swaths of tweed. Fall/Winter 2016 also saw the increased inclusion of outerwear; jackets trimmed with Astrakhan fur on oversized lapels, glossy snakeskin toppers, and striped mink coats brought gravitas to Valli’s airy selection of sheer chiffon minis and ruffled skirts.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Ever since Valli launched Giamba, things over at his older-sister namesake have gotten more youthful. This fact is strengthened by the inclusion of model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid, who also walked in his show last season. With fresh-faced au naturel models on the runway, his clothes took on an innocent personality, even when their reality was more sophisticated than that. This was apparent from the opening look, which democratically appealed to many age groups, but appeared as a youthful shift embroidered with floral appliqués. That is the central conceit of this collection; realistically, it is dignified and densely appointed, but at first glance it appears twee.

That is the central conceit of this collection; realistically, it is dignified and densely appointed, but at first glance it appears twee.

Amid a crop of swishy chiffon ruffled dresses came a serious selection of luxe chevron-tweed sheaths, fitted ribbed wool dresses with ruffled trumpet hemlines, toggled bouclé coats, and glossy snakeskin jackets. Luxurious looks were found on coats made from alternating strips of mink and floral embroidery, baby-pink chiffon dresses with throat-climbing ruffles and gently pleated skirts, and sateen A-line skirts featuring ridged patterns. While everyone else has applied Edwardian inspiration with a heavy hand, at Valli it was light and delicate, done in sheer floral-printed chiffons that fluttered breezily down the runway. For the finale, Valli elongated hemlines with long skirts and gorgeous floor-sweeping sheer gowns that added a touch of subtle drama to his collection. He is, no doubt, an erudite designer, but now he is transforming into something of a marketing maverick. With looks both young and sophisticated and casting that targets millennial interest, he is channeling social-media power while still appealing to the person who matters most to the brand: the consumer.

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