Provocative. That was the word that immediately sprang to the fore after seeing Giambattista Valli's Spring 2014 collection. In still images, the collection looks dreadful to say the least. But in motion, It's a Vision Walking. Valli's Sculptural folds and whorls look stiff and awkward in flat static pictures, but when witnessed moving, They provide an artistic drama and frisson that is Breath-Catching!
There was also a play with sheer and undergarment dressing that lent a blatant sexual edge to the clothes, an edge that Valli was in no way shy in portraying. from Bra and Panty sets underneath dresses split to the waist in front to those same sets being seen through fully sheer dresses, tops and skirts, the edge of subverse sexual titillation was palpable. Valli's undercurrent of Sexual Provocation was coupled with brilliantly deft technique. Even the most simple of outfits was rendered with Valli's Couture assured hand.
The juxtapositions of the delicate yet stiff furls curls in the outfits finessed out of rich fabrications was ingenious. Taking heavy fabrics manipulating them into feather light masterpieces of construction is just a bit of fashion alchemy! Valli also had a fearless sense of boldness that was tempered with a sensual sparseness and sleekness that gave magnificent counterpoint to the more elaborate pieces.
Take Exit No. 9. A Black Dress slit off-center up the front with boy briefs underneath and cap sleeves. Strict and Pure save for all the thigh revealing, but still Sober nonetheless even with it's marked sexual allusion. The Exit that followed, A Smoky Gazar tunic Dress slit all the way to the there and back, looked positively demure, but still sensual! Later, to add more delicacy Pretty flowers began to embroider the looks and give a fanciful almost Naive gesture to some of the looks, best embodied by Exit No. 31, A slim line sheath in a Mauve floral print accented with the aforementioned flowers.
Valli took much of a risk this season, operating way outside his norm, and it was a success from beginning to end. It was a collection that showed it's designer expressing his Ideology of fashion in New and Exciting ways. Valli Pushed himself past his own comfort level and demanded of himself excellence beyond his usual safety zone. More designers should strive so confidently to redefine what their own identity is and ultimately, Can Be.