In Paris, fashion’s future is rosy with Lanvin and Giambattista Valli
After the shock of multiple lockdowns and a 2020 marked indelibly by the Covid-19 pandemic, fashion designers are looking to the future with unexpected optimism. Judging from the collections presented this week at the virtual Paris fashion week, notably those by Lanvin and Giambattista Valli on Monday, next winter is likely to be as glittering and festive as the vibrantly crazy Roaring Twenties that followed World War One.
Lanvin’s girls can’t wait to break loose and strut their stuff. Lockdowns and the pandemic’s gloom are a thing of the past, and they are treating themselves to an escapade in a Parisian palace. A stone’s throw from the Trocadéro, a stretch limo is disgorging girls at the Shangri-La hotel: let the party begin!
Plumes, crystals, glittering fabrics, oversize bows and train gowns: this is the vision Bruno Sialelli, creative director of the venerable Parisian maison, has for next winter, anticipating a return to joy and levity. In Lanvin’s video presentation, Sialelli’s jet-setting models delight in strolling down the hotel’s majestic staircases in skimpy, alluring outfits.
Like shopaholics with scores of boxes in their arms, they try out innumerable looks in their rooms, scattered with luxury shoes and garments. Treading along the edge of a pool, inside their rooms or in the hotel’s lavishly panelled salons, they swing and bop jubilantly to the sound of ‘Rich Girl’ by Gwen Stefani and rapper Eve, who plays a cameo in the video.
Except for two monochrome suits, one in yellow and one in pink, and a tuxedo-and-corset outfit, trousers are banned from Lanvin’s fashion vocabulary this season. Dresses are ubiquitous, with a preference for rather short evening gowns, corset-style and leaving the shoulders bare. They are cut in glossy, glittering fabrics like duchess satin, taffeta, silk and crepe, all in pastel hues. Sialellli has even designed a few amusing total looks in fake leopard fur.
Huge, gem-encrusted bows trail behind or fasten up the sides of asymmetric draped dresses. Ostrich feathers in powder pink and baby blue crop up everywhere, adding a light-hearted touch to several looks, whether on the collar of a sage green coat, as a shrug or mini cape, or even in a cloud-like skirt or draped around a top.
Elsewhere, lace, sequins and pearls adorn other, more sombre-hued outfits, while a series of sky blue dresses feature prints inspired by the work of US pop artist James Rosenquist.
The same yearning to be on the move again and to find new élan after a period of immobility and introspection characterises the Fall/Winter 2021-22 collection by Giambattista Valli, whose ladies navigate across various eras. Clad in short, ultra-chic outfits, they stride confidently on wedge-soled boots, their hair gathered under tiara-like headbands shimmering with pearls.
This season, Valli’s sexy, romantic style, with his feather-light fabrics, floral prints and transparent garments, veers towards a degree of classicism, marked by a predominantly black and white palette. It is apparent especially in the tweed suits with golden buttons and braids, in the white plastron featured on a short black dress or a longer sequinned one, or in the bows placed on collars, pockets, at the waist or on the shoulders.
For this season, Valli has chosen as his muse Paolina Borghese Bonaparte, Napoleon’s pretty, intrepid sister, drawing also inspiration from Villa Borghese - the palace that was her Roman residence - and its huge park, now transformed into a museum.
References to Empire style are discreetly sprinkled here and there, in the dresses with a slightly elevated waist or in the crystal-trimmed necklines, or the floral prints and embroidery reminiscent of Villa Borghese’s frescoes and gardens.
In another nod to the past, some models’ forearms slip into half-sleeves billowing at the elbow with a puff of wrinkled taffeta, whose balloon shape can add a special period touch to any outfit.
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