Mrs. George Clooney has done a brilliant job of familiarizing the world with Giambattista Valli’s oeuvre this weekend. It was perfect providence that the dress she wore the day after the wedding, from Valli’s last couture collection, also previewed the ready-to-wear collection he showed today, with branches of blossom sprayed across the simplest shift shape.
Valli says he’s reached a point of clarity in his career: His couture is an expression of the art of his atelier; his ready-to-wear is industrial craft, as mass as the production of these clothes is ever likely to get. This season he was fascinated by Japan’s postwar Metabolist movement, which balanced industrial and artisanal design, the machine and the hand. Valli was insistent that his new collection expressed that balance. “The silhouette is extremely designed,” he said, “but the materials are industrial.” That wasn’t immediately obvious, given that the fabrics had such a crafted feel, like the dress cut from a macramé lace—it looked like a print from far away—or the floral-printed leather. The cutouts and patchwork also felt very hand-y.