For spring, the designer looked toward the Italian Arte Povera movement of the late sixties, specifically artists Alighiero Boetti and Jannis Kounellis. But what Valli did was end up with a collection that spoke very much to what’s happening this season, namely the painterly touches, sheer fabrics, and heavy metallics of spring 2014.
Valli started out with some very short looks with cropped tanks, and gradually introduced longer lengths—albeit with very high slits centered on the thigh. The effect was especially alluring in a sheer black chiffon seemingly covered with tonal paint splotches and a long-sleeved, pleated dress in a sort of honeycomb lace. There was also a pretty black-and-white print chiffon dress with a slit up to the waist that presumably will be lined for stores—but then again, perhaps it won’t.
He then moved on to yellow and lavender pansies, creating evening coats and sheaths covered in blooms both printed and appliquéd. After that came wheat. Metallic golden sheaves hung upside down on another series of organza dresses, that fit slightly looser, and airy coats.
Florals have always been a Valli leitmotif, as one was reminded later that day at a party celebrating the designer’s new book. It’s a beautiful, hefty tome, with a model in an abundantly ruffled and worked dress that looks like the world’s largest, most wearable peony on the cover. Inside are photographs by Valli and others of his work, inspiration, and muses over the years. As a whole, it’s a wonderful testament to the consistency of his point of view.