#SuzyPFW: Giambattista Valli Takes Yoko Ono To India
Colourful mind, colourful soul,” said Giambattista Valli as he unveiled backstage the fresh, white dresses that he envisaged in the wardrobe of his muse of the moment: Yoko Ono, in the period when she was in love with John Lennon in the 1960s.
Down the long runway in a lighting of sunshine and clouds were figures in white: girlish looks of short A-line dresses with exquisite handwork, a ruffle or three – all brought down to Indian earth with an animal print skirt.
But why Yoko Ono as the inspiration?
“Her independence and freedom with her choices – that’s what I love in women – the power and independence of mind and soul,” said the designer, who even included Yoko’s 1971 song ‘Mrs Lennon’ in the show.
The first part of the collection was almost entirely in white, which looked fresh even when other colours slipped in – such as the decoration of pink lips at the bust of a dress.
“The intimate side of a woman, that is what I really work in and she’s a woman in love,” said the designer. “I was listening to her and reading The Scent of India by Pasolini.”
With my own love of India, I wanted to feel the magic of intense handwork and Maharajah inspiration and that particular vivid pink that Diana Vreeland famously called “the navy blue of India”.
But something stopped the show in its tracks: the long walk down a catwalk that was as plain and apparently endless as an airport.
Giambattista’s work blossoms in intimacy: his relation with his young clients; his Roman love of a modernist baroque. I knew all that was there in this parade of finery – white lips decorating a sleek trouser suit, a jewel like a beach-find nestling in a white top under a tiger patterned coat.
Backstage, the deep-thinking designer underscored the difficulty of showing his work at a distance as we examined embroidered denim and the extraordinary handworked tiger pattern, the creation of which he had supervised since last April.
“My problem is that I think I am a magician at textures but nobody is going to see it until the final customer is going to buy it,” said Giambattista. “It’s a fantasy, it’s something that came out of my mind that I was dreaming about. But I think fashion has to be fantasy.”