Dior takes a folksy turn, Giambattista Valli goes big

The garments featured  stylized floral embroideries. Photo: Reuters
The garments featured stylized floral embroideries. Photo: Reuters
Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri set aside the shimmery jacquards and coatings of sequins  - standard fare at Paris fashion shows - and homed in on craftsmanship of the needle-and-thread variety, applying elaborate, folksy-flavored flower embroideries to her haute couture line-up for the autumn-winter season.

“It’s really a project that has inside this idea that art and artisan are at the same level,” Chiuri told Reuters.

Models swept down the runway on Monday in loose braids and patchwork opera coats, trim jackets and long dresses with billowing sleeves.

The garments served as blank canvasses of sorts, in soft, neutral colours - beige wool gabardines, cotton canvas and black velvet - for the stylised floral embroideries that trickled down shoulders and wound around skirts, rising up from the hemlines.

Models swept down the runway in long dresses with billowing sleeves. Photo: Reuters
Models swept down the runway in long dresses with billowing sleeves. Photo: Reuters
Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko filled the show venue in the garden of the Rodin Museum with artwork, towering photographic images of landscapes overlaid with embroidered flowers, outlining the shapes of people who might have been there.

The French fashion house, one of the labels owned by LVMH LVMH.PA, will leave the exhibit open to the public, in keeping with a tradition it started with a Judy Chicago display in 2020.

The artwork and the fashion carried an underlying theme – the tree of life, a universal symbol interpreted in different styles across cultures.

Chiuri described the notion as carrying a mystical quality that people can turn to “in difficult times.”

The patterns had a slightly retro flair. Chiuri considered local traditions and how flower patterns are interpreted around the world.

“I think all these dresses have some aspect in common. Very often they are in embroidery, very often they are ornamented with flowers. There really is a connection with life,” she said.

Sigourney Weaver and Naomi Watts were among guests in the packed front row.

Silhouettes were ample and varied, with volumes that shifted. Photo: Reuters
Silhouettes were ample and varied, with volumes that shifted. Photo: Reuters

Giambista Valli goes all out 

Giambattista Valli went full throttle for his namesake label’s Paris fashion show,  marking 10 years on the official French haute couture calendar by sending mountains of tulle and billowing trains for a spin under bright lights, and the gaze of cheering fans.

Models drifted out from a wall of shiny, party balloons - pink flamingos squeezed against rainbow ponies - wearing wide cat-eyed sunglasses and teased-out hair extensions. They lifted their skirts as they criss-crossed the runway and rounded the mirrored columns while a robot camera rolled back and forth.

Silhouettes were ample and varied, with volumes that shifted. Sleeves puffed out from the shoulders, and skirts were cast wide, built in tiers like layered cakes, or fitted, then suddenly splayed out at the bottom in a burst of yellow, pink or turquoise.

An embellished creation from Giambattista Valli. Photo: Reuters
An embellished creation from Giambattista Valli. Photo: Reuters
In a nod to his signature topiary dresses, Valli sent out a shimmery, silver sequined body suit with rings of white ostrich feathers around the legs.

“It’s like the generosity of the hug. It’s a hug of flowers, a hug of feathers, a hug of tulle. There are all these bouquets that hug you; it’s this kind of pleasure to share happy times together,” Vallie told Reuters.

The collection was about living in the moment, he explained.

“I don’t look too much in the future, or too much in the past,” he said. “I think this is the big lesson from the past couple of years.”

Popular with socialites and known for serving the red carpet set, the label has financial backing from the Pinault family holding Groupe Artemis. It broadened its consumer base with an H&M collaboration in 2019.

Valli trotted out on the runway for his bow, stopping to greet Bianca Brandolini, who modelled a pink dress with a hooded cape. After the show, guests including Robbie Williams and Olivia Palermo swarmed backstage.

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