2009 March 10
(PARIS) Giambattista Valli
Some front-rowers lamented the absence of those breathtaking, Volkswagon-sized gowns that enchanted Giambattista Valli's runway last season, but his leaner take on Fall dressing provided a refreshing antidote to all that jazz. With a renewed focus on daywear--well, Valli's version of it--a smattering of shorter, very full overcoats attested to this designer's skill at making even the mundane seem luxurious. But overall, Valli played with an ankle-grazing slouchy tunic dress, belted at the waist, that deserves accolades for being one of the few fresh silhouettes seen this season (even if it does hearken back to Saint Laurent). While some shapes felt extraneous--such as the long leather-on-top, fox-on-the-bottom coat that simply refuses to flatter--the exquisite draped dresses made the case for Valli's versatility. Oh, Stefano Sassi...isn't it worth another shot?
Let's start with the music--lethargic but complex jazz courtesy of Alice Coltrane. After a month-long assault of fashion, the front-row of the gallery-like, Zen-y geometric space at the Palais du Tokyo required a siren song to ease them into a place of proper reflection, which is exactly where this music left its audience. Joyously, Stefano Pilati's Fall collection for YSL did consist exclusively of clothes that deserve to be savored. The first handful of leather looks (a belted trench, a double-breasted jacket with a studded collar, a trim strapless bodysuit) captured Pilati's "emotion pulled taught by restraint," as the liner notes outlined. Pilati took thermal molding techniques (traditionally used in the automotive industry) to bond the linings of washed crêpe de chine and foam with the collection fabrics, giving a sense of heft and texture to these overall sharp shapes. After all the frippery, these clean clothes (a white poplin shirt tied in a flourish at the shoulder, a long cashmere pinstriped jacket with an upturned collar, a sole-heavy and soulful crocodile pump) felt exactly right.
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