“What can I say? I’m feeling very ‘peace and love,’ ” Giambattista Valli said by phone on Thursday morning from his Paris atelier, hard at work on both his couture collection and his recently announced ready-to-wear line for spring 2015, Giamba. At his New York showroom, his resort collection was on view in a quixotic swirl of delicate floral prints and maxi skirts, jacquard evening coats embossed in a geometric pattern, generous diaphanous blouses and kicky short pleats, peplum-waist tops and the sheath dresses with nipped waists that have won him a devoted following amongst the young and chic—now accented at the waist or collar in an embroidered lip motif. While here and there a garment bloomed with embroidered paillettes exquisitely molded into small lustrous blossoms—a technique borrowed from his last couture showing—the collection felt like a bit of a departure for Valli, with more of an emphasis on longer hemlines and flared printed trousers. (Either way, it was enough to make this reviewer regret being born a few decades too late for the love generation.)
The collection began, the designer noted, like most great romances: with flowers—more specifically, Valli’s idea of “flower power,” expressed through neon accents and a fresh palette of bright yellow, mint green, jasmine, tangerine, coral, and white. “It’s a ‘hippie deluxe,’ Jimi Hendrix sort of mood; really free and confident,” Valli said. “That spontaneity to grab from your wardrobe without thinking too much.” And while the collection likely best serves the free-wheeling “Gypset” types among us (those maxi skirts and dresses are best tossed in a suitcase and worn from breakfast to beach and out at night), even those in more urban environments will benefit from a little of Valli’s wanderlust.
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