“Flowers and colors are what women want from me,” Giambattista Valli said before the show. Statues of cherubs adorning flower garlands were aligned on the catwalk, an ode to Rome, one could easily guess. On the invitation, a detail of Meissen porcelain from Valli’s personal collection set the tone. Meissen, based in Germany, is the first European porcelain signature, created in 1708. And it should be noted that, like Couture, porcelain was collected by the world’s elite, including both the Russian and English courts.
The show notes mentioned Capodimonte as the “opening act”. Capodimonte is Naples’ pride, created in 1743; its signature is molded flowers applied to figurines and tableware. And so, out walked perfect white figurines: a short dress with flower embroideries over tulle and flower garland appliqués belted with black-bronze bows.
Then, came Wedgewood, founded in 1759 in England and characterized by a blue and white palette. This made for Valli’s best looks although a bit reminiscent of Valentino’s Fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection inspired by Delft pottery. Indeed, in view of Valli’s love of delicate silhouettes, fascination for high society, Italian muses, and high regard for the Couture Master, it is sometimes difficult to see where Valentino stops and where Valli begins.
This cross-country porcelain tour also had to reference Ateliers de Sèvres, the pride of King Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. As the soft blues were replaced by sanguine reds, the flower appliqués and silhouettes became increasingly theatrical, culminating in an over-the-shoulder blood red silk drape over a tulle evening gown embroidered with hundreds of petals.
Meissen closed the show with its softly colored flower motifs and models wore gold dipped crowns created by accessory designer Luigi Scialanga. The show ended on a particularly light and airy note; Valli’s delicate detailing and masterful use of embellishments served him well for his fifth Haute Couture collection.