October 03, 2010 Paris
As for Valli himself, his mind was on higher things—sort of. Remember the three R's from the school days of old: readin', 'ritin', 'rithmetic? Valli has four new ones all his own: romantic, rebel, rock, royal. He'd been to the Petit Trianon, where Marie Antoinette went to feed chickens when she felt like some downtime, and he got caught up in the notion of a privileged wild child stretching her wings. Picture a hybrid of front-row fixture Bianca Brandolini d'Adda and Debbie Harry, high and low. That's how Valli could whip an eveningwear bubble from petals of organza and poplin and pair it with a white shirt (its silver pocket an artful stand-in for jewelry) and a pair of sandals. Or collage leopard, lamé, and hot orange into a chic mini-shift.
The Petit Trianon gave him the idea for the Baroque stucco prints he used, and the marbled floors at Versailles inspired the Vichy check, but it was ultimately Valli's own roots in the alta moda of Rome that sent him into the citron stratosphere that helped the show to its close. Ball gowns at breakfast? Valli's your man.