‘Public showcase’. Those two words produced in me an inexplicable whirlwind of emotions. The Italian fashion designer Giambattista Valli announced in his brand’s Instagram a very rare decision about his Haute Couture collection. It will be open during three hours for the general public after its showcase to its guests.
OMG! What a wonderful opportunity to see in person the craftmanship of a creative mind I admire. I had seen before his dresses that looked like cotton candy or elaborate chantilly, always exuding femininity. Valli is the master of ruffles, volume and delicacy.
I didn’t know what to expect. But when I arrived to Jeu de Paume art gallery, I knew it was something unique. Early birds like me saw some of the guests that actually got invitations like Gabrielle Union, really gorgeous in person and not scared of the Parisian cold weather only wearing a sleeveless top with a long skirt, all in black. I was wearing a cape and two pair of socks.
While waiting I realized I was surrounded by people like me. Well, people that love fashion like me at least. Some of them were taking pictures, some of them were planning to crash another fashion show. It was a moment of general excitement.
When the clock marked 8pm the doors were still close for the general public, but a few minutes later, I entered the building with my fellow queue mates.
It was my first time at Jeu de Paume, inside Tuileries Garden, one of the most romantic gardens in Paris. The immaculate white space displayed some clutch bags in different colours by the hall with some zodiac signs embroideries. I took a picture of the scorpion one, my zodiac sign, that had a sapphire blue background.
Some steps later, the entrance to the exhibition was there.
The gallery room was divided in five areas with 33 mannequins: white, green lime and hot pink, dusty pink, orange and yellow. Extravagant feather head pieces embellish some mannequins. The first one, by the entrance, showed two pink dresses and a white one. That was the beginning of the elaborate lace odyssey.
The second place was a long corridor that was home to six looks. My favourite one was a fuchsia cape with silver embroidery in the shape of flowers and with a rigid fall on the back. The shade was rich and the short silhouette looked young.
The third place was a longer hallway that produced in me a mix of feelings. Some beautiful pieces like an over the top white gown with a fluffy tulle skirt shared the space with dresses which prints reminded me of old flower wall papers or sofas. I also spotted a remarkable short dress in vivid red had a long train, ruffles around the skirt and balloon sleeves.
The fourth area depicted six passionate gowns. My favourite from this part was what I think is an inspiration of Cristobal Balenciaga. It is short and has the shape of a flower bud, the sleeves are voluminous and has a necklace attached. To add more drama, it was accompanied by a red feather mask which covered most of the face leaving the eyes exposed.
Finally, the last and most amazing room housed the most intricate gowns of them all under a playful light that went on and off. This was a magical moment! Yellow was a dominant colour in here, starting with a chiffon strapless dress with a train of at least three meters. Another incredible look for me was a teal dress along with embed orange feathers as well as a 50’s silhouette: a cream strapless tight on the waist with a delicate embroidery and yellow feathers.
The lights were spotting one gown after the other in an exquisite ballet. People were whispering in awe. For me, that was the personification of dreams. In real life, these garments are out of the league of the majority of the public. But that night, those gowns were ours.