Step into Giambattista Valli‘s atelier, and you’re not just greeted by racks of exquisite gowns. You’re enveloped in a fragrant embrace, courtesy of a stunning bouquet of Trianon roses in ethereal wisteria hues. It’s a fitting introduction to the designer’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 collection, a vibrant ode to nature’s boundless beauty, where blossoms unfurl into breathtaking gowns and fabrics whisper tales of infinite possibility.
“Flowers, roses, nature,” Valli murmurs, his voice brimming with awe. “They’re noble and eternal, a caress for the soul.” In his hands, couture transcends mere tailoring and becomes an artistic dialogue with the bounty of nature. Shapes dance to the rhythm of draping, volumes blossom as fabrics reveal their secrets, and the finished creations sing with an exuberant, almost exaggerated grandeur.
This is not a collection for the faint of heart. Valli embraces the notion of the “out of the ordinary,” and his pieces push the boundaries of couture with unapologetic boldness. Imagine sleeves puffed out like opulent hotel pillows and fishtail gowns draped in cascading layers of fabric, each whisper of silk a testament to the atelier’s technical virtuosity.
Yet amid the riotous abundance, there’s a captivating sense of refinement. Black velvet gowns adorned with delicate white roses exude regal drama, while a simple bustier bodysuit, the collection’s opening act, blossoms into a series of embellished minidresses, their tulle draped in a symphony of bloated shapes and intricate pleating. It’s a masterclass in balance, where unbridled volume waltzes with meticulous detail, and the whisper of a rosebud inspires a cascade of silk.
Valli scoffs at the notion of watered-down couture, of collections that mistake embellishment for artistry. “Some shows look a bit like ready-to-wear with embellishment,” he jokes, his eyes twinkling with mischief. “I like the idea that haute couture is really haute couture.” And there’s no denying that his dedication to the craft shines through in every stitch, every fold, every petal-like embellishment.
©Photo: Giambattista Valli