Giambattista Valli Channels Valentino

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Alessandra Facchinetti shows her spring 2009 collection for Valentino today. But rumors are swirling that Valentino's about to fire her and bring Giambattista Valli onboard as head designer. Valli's collection walked yesterday, and Hilary Alexander couldn't help but notice it felt very Valentino. Valli didn't do much to dispel said rumors, saying, “I have no comment to make on that. I wish Alessandra the best of luck with her show tomorrow. I think she is doing a wonderful job.” But his collection was inspired by Roman frescoes, and photos of Roman statues populated his mood board. You know whose headquarters are in Rome? Valentino's. Valli's front row included Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, and Margherita Missoni — star power that would appeal to a house like (you guessed it!) Valentino. The ball-gown finale earned "tumultuous applause":

The vast skirts, ending in long trains, in lilac, cream and beige, could have stepped out of an Italian Old Master painting. They were composed of literally thousands of minute, silk chiffon “rosettes” or else a cascade of fingertip-pleated ruffles.

The gowns could fetch about $124,000 to $177,000 at Harrods. But one of the store's fashion directors says she expects them to sell easily. So Valli's inspired by Rome, adored by starlets, and easily moves $150,000 dresses, while many critics doubt Facchinetti's consistency. Stay tuned.

Giambattista Valli at Paris Fashion Week [Telegraph]
Related: Alessandra Facchinetti Almost Out at Valentino?