There are times when a show is in progress and, suddenly, a question crops up: Just exactly which season are these clothes for? That particular thought crossed the mind while watching Giambattista Valli's latest efforts for the house of Ungaro. Valli, rather guilty in the past of loading his outfits with too many extras (fedoras and fur wraps and feathery fripperies), stripped back to nothing this season but for some fabulous Buccellati earrings and the occasional gem-studded satin bag.
But perhaps this stripping process went too far. What Valli showed on the runway flashed enough flesh to make even a spring collection seem skimpy, yet these looks are meant for fall. When the weather turns chilly, is a woman really going to reach for a tiered floral silk mini or a nude beaded chiffon dress? It's hypothermia on a hangernot to mention out of sync with where fashion is now. As the recent Academy Awards made clear, blatant skin-baring is out, and seduction is turning more subtle. If Valli's efforts to simplify what he shows had included more of those curvy tweed jackets and leopard-print wrap coats that did make it onto the runway, he might have given this collection greater substancein every sense of the word.