Giambattista Valli always has a particular woman in mind when he starts his collection. This season, it was Veruschka in her desert mode, which (partially) explained his opening caftan shape, caught in at the ankles as an all-in-one. Valli had also been inspired by a research trip to Jordan (it may be significant that Queen Rania is a known client of his), where he was stunned by the sights of ancient Petra and the brilliance of flowers blooming against the dusty noncolors of the landscape.
Valli doesn't really come from high concept, though. His are couture-based skills, and from his close relationships with a refined crowd of international clientsa flock of whom crowded the backstage area to congratulate himhe has learned how to meld Parisian luxe into socially appropriate, climate-aware dressing for places where women want to look very special indeed. What that means is: He's worked out how to deal lightly with volume, surface embellishment, and color that looks good in the sun. All those qualities came through in his use of pretty white organza and chiffon, minutely pleated into short, full-skirted dresses; shots of neon lime and fuchsia, occasionally backlit with streaks of gold; and crunchy patches of stone embroideries. If his desert Veruschka theme didn't really hold throughout the collection, well, never mind. The customers he's talking to hardly need concept to validate a drifty, strapless georgette Valli gown. It is what it is: specifically targeted service, well done.