As the world exits lockdown and we begin to prepare for life after the pandemic, designers are picking up on the change in mood, debuting collections this season filled with short hemlines and sexy, skin-baring designs. Cut-outs, thigh-high leather boots, bustiers and see-through sparkly mesh skirts reigned supreme on the runways from New York through to Paris, seen on the likes of everyone from next gen designers, Surpiya Lele in London to Coperni and Givenchy in Paris. But as the first real-life fashion month season in 18 months begins to come to a close, Giambattista Valli put on a show to remind us there’s more to fashion than that of current trends.
Staged at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris on Monday, one day before editors, stylists and models pack for home, Valli didn’t try to cater to the current climate by casting It-girl models or enlisting rappers for his soundtrack. There was no leather bustier or cut-out trouser in sight. Rather, the designer lent into the delicate romanticism of fashion, debuting a collection filled with colour, floral motifs and loads of lace and tulle.
Though very clearly on his own path, the collection didn’t alienate those looking to embrace the new sexy and long-awaited actual hot girl summer (fingers crossed for 2022), there were crop tops, barely-there peasant mini dresses and transparent ruffled evening gowns dotted throughout the show, proving romance doesn’t have to come as the cost of being—or feeling—subversive and sexy.
Valli even dipped his toes into the cut-out trend, adding a romantic edge in the colourways, sending micro-minis with cutouts in pale pink and red down the runway, as well as white and gold embroidered box pleat mini skirts.
Like every other designer showing this season, Valli knows we’re sick of loungewear and track pants. But he’s offering us a return to the world through a different kind of extravagance: he’s giving us romance, ruffles and dreamy elegance. Designs that will stand the test of time, rather than ones made for an Instagram cycle.