“Giamba,” as he is known to the “Valli girls,” who were out in full force in the front row Friday morning to see their friend designer Giambattista Valli and his new namesake ready-to-wear label, Giamba. The loyal court of socially prominent customers like Bianca Brandolini, Mélusine Ruspoli, Ginevra Elkann, Coco Brandolini, Alexia Niedzielski, and Isabella Borromeo looked on approvingly as the upbeat Giamba collection waltzed past on sparkly platform heels. Backstage, and wearing his customary pearl necklace, the Roman-born designer explained he wanted to give his classy crowd something for every moment of their lives. “[The Valli girls] are getting married, having children; I wanted to design clothes for the school run and the weekend.” It’s a savvy premise, and although one can’t quite envisage some of the pretty looks he conjured up at the school gate (or perhaps it rather depends on the location), it all worked. His wonderful denim pieces—smart pants, a shell top with ruffle front, sleeveless jacket, and a dress cut in the couture style—are fantastic pretty indigo alternatives and highlighted the Paris-based designer’s trademark voluminous cut and increasingly strong brand identity.
Valli said he wanted to capture the freedom of the seventies in his debut collection and cited Yoko Ono as an influence, most obviously evidenced in the rounded pink lens, seventies-style sunglasses; sherbet-hued; glittery-heeled platforms, and lots of cute dresses in the Jean Shrimpton genre. One could imagine his tender mixes of guipure lace separates, duster coats, and pistachio-colored fuzzy furs (actually mohair) crossing the famous threshold of the Dakota building and being quickly ushered into the exclusive Manhattan address. Referencing a polyglot’s artistic bent, Valli said he envisioned the Giamba woman as an eccentric, artistic one, penciling in the outline of petals on a bib-fronted frock, referring to decorated bodices on his short, graphic silhouettes. He continued the creative streak by incorporating the decorative Art Nouveau motifs seen on the show’s venue façade—Palazzina Liberty, a former Milan fruit and vegetable market—and transforming them into pretty citrus prints. Floral-printed K-Way jackets and gelato-hued raincoats suggested he’d done his fabric research and added a maturity to his work, which will certainly resonate with his loyal coterie of global nomads and beyond.
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