Giambattista Valli’s new design obsession? Metabolism architecture. I know, I didn’t have a clue either, but judging from the kinetic images on the designer’s mood board, this Japanese school of building design from the sixties and seventies—its key practitioners were Kikutake and Kurokawa—was the last word in2001: A Space Odyssey futurism.
Mix that with a photograph of a Pop Art conversation pit interior; Willy Rizzo furnishings; and Roger Tallon’s famed spiral staircase with its spoon-shaped treads, and a picture emerges of a sleek, Warhol-era glamazon.
Valli promised a “a jet-set folk attitude,” and proudly pointed out the accomplished technique of his atelier, who had created artisanal patchworks that combined such textile elements as eighteenth-century patterned brocades, printed gazar and leather, and thick macramé cotton lace, in the tidy shift dresses with a sixties couture flavor that have become his signature.
After seasons of those dignified little frocks, Giambattista finally also threw some pant looks into his runway lineup—lean, with a gentle boot-leg flare, with hems long enough to kiss the floor and entirely disguising the high heels (thus extending the leg for days). They looked cool with tunic tops, and when worn with a take on the famed Tolfa bag (carried by well-heeled radical gals during the 1968 student protests in Paris) slung over the shoulder for an après midi on the barricades.