09 November 2019
I aim at creating a distinctive silhouette, because a silhouette will pierce the memory.
The news is finally out: Giambattista Valli, internationally renowned as dressmaker to some of the world’s most glamorous stars, including Rihanna, Amal Clooney, Ariana Grande and Emma Stone, is the latest designer to collaborate with H&M.
Giambattista Valli, known as Giamba to his close friends, is an unstoppable force in fashion and a veritable workaholic. He belongs to the highest school of fashion makers: those who believe that half the magic is created in the atelier, while the other half comes from the clients themselves and the infinitely personal ways they bring the clothes to life.
Suitably, Valli likes to call himself, in French, a fournisseur, which means a provider. The fact that Valli is deeply loved and passionately followed by a far-reaching, cross-cultural clientele from a range of glitzy backgrounds proves the efficiency of his approach to style.
Giambattista Valli was born and raised in Rome. His first, deeply formative work experience was alongside master couturier Roberto Capucci, an artist working with fabric, followed by a long stint at Fendi, where he was creative director for the influential Fendissime line.
Next, Giambattista decamped to Milan to work at Krizia until, called by Emanuel Ungaro, he moved to Paris in the late 90s to forge a singular path within the celebrated Parisian house. He eventually went solo and opened the Giambattista Valli fashion house, launching his namesake collection in 2005.
The haute couture-inspired collection is perhaps the fanciest of H&M’s designer collaborations so far. As Valli told Vogue earlier this year: “I was very surprised and flattered [by H&M’s interest]. The idea is to bring the Valli DNA of extraordinary, of one-of-a-kind, of uniqueness, of couture.” The collection’s 41 pieces for women and 31 for men – the first time Valli has branched out into menswear – include embroidered coats, a leopard print hoodie, logo tights, pearly jewelry and floaty floral dresses. There are jumpers decorated with rose prints and historical figures in ruffs, and knee-high socks adorned with pink hearts.
Get further inspired by reading the interview given by Giambattista Valli to H&M but also by shopping his new collection online (if there’s anything left at this point):
HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE H&M PUBLIC?
“My work speaks for itself, so I wouldn’t add much. I like to think of myself as an accomplice to some special moments. My creations are easy to wear and easy to interpret. More than dresses, I see them as a means to create a dialogue with my clients. I design for a living body, not for a lifeless mannequin.”
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
“Inspiration is a matter of curiosity: literally anything can light a spark in me, from a landscape to a piece of music. I am drawn to many different things; for example, at random: Mina, India, Antonio Lopez, Bianca Jagger, Jane Birkin, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, Nan Goldin, Federico Fellini, Andy Warhol, MTV and Positano, but also Arte Povera, Eva Ionesco and fairy tales. It makes for a lot of contrasts – I like having an element of tension in whatever I do.”
THE FASHION YOU MAKE IS SO DRENCHED IN A SPIRIT OF COUTURE AND SOPHISTICATION. HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION WITH H&M HAPPEN?
“I was contacted by H&M unexpectedly, and immediately reacted with enthusiasm. My world and H&M are supposed to be at odds, but that is just a misconception. At its core, my work is about a certain kind of woman undefined by age or status, and now also about a certain kind of man. H&M allows me to reach them on a global scale, which is great.”
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM IT AND WHAT DO YOU WANT THE PUBLIC TO GET FROM IT?
“I accepted this project because I felt it was the right moment to share my vision with a new audience. I want H&M customers to get access to the Valli dream and make whatever they want out of it. What I am offering them is a style, not fashion: something with a deeper meaning and a longer life. There won’t be throwaway pieces in the collection, but items customers will want to keep in their wardrobes for a long time. The Giambattista Valli X H&M collection allows me to bring beauty to everyone.”
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO TRANSLATE YOUR VERY HIGH STANDARDS IN TERMS OF FABRICS AND EXECUTION INTO H&M’S PARAMETERS?
“It was not, honestly. I am used to intense and exacting atelier work, and I have very high standards when it comes to the quality of my creations, which I always personally check; but I have to admit I was the first to be surprised when we received samples for the fittings. H&M was able to get the same effect. They did everything wonderfully, even my signature multi-tier tulle gowns.”
HOW WOULD YOU RECOMMEND CUSTOMERS INTERPRET THE COLLECTION?
“Freely. My work is just half of the whole thing. The rest is up to the clients.”
YOU ARE OPENING UP TO A WIDER AUDIENCE. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THEM TO GET FROM IT?
“Beauty. That’s it.”
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE MESSAGE?
“Be passionate and have fun, because fashion is all about positive feelings.”
ONE LAST QUESTION: YOU’RE ALWAYS WEARING A STRING OF PEARLS. WHY?
“It is my lucky charm; I cannot say more.”