Giambattista Valli is all about making an entrance, whether it’s gowns in eye-catching prints, or a mini dress with an unforgettable train. So, it’s no surprise that to debut his collaboration with H&M, he tapped Kendall Jenner, Chiara Ferragni, and H.E.R. to show off dresses from his limited-edition drop at the epic amfAR gala during Cannes Film Festival. But that was really just a small taste of what was to come. The full Giambattista Valli x H&M collection will finally be available on November 7th. The Italian designer weaves his signature romantic, luxe bohemian styles into pieces that won’t break the bank—and are perfect for the holiday party circuit. Below, we chatted with the designer about his process in creating the affordable collection, plus see all the women’s looks from the lookbook.
As one of the top luxury designers, why did you decide to collaborate with H&M?
I was very humbled when H&M approached me. I don’t think that H&M knocks on the door of every designer– but they came to mine and it is an exciting moment for the Maison. Besides the honor of being asked and being in excellent company with past designers, I was extremely happy that this collaboration would allow me to share my love for beauty with an even broader audience and make the biggest number of people happy wearing my creations for special moments in their lives.
I love creating beautiful, extraordinary pieces for the Valli Boys and Girls around the world and I am excited at the idea that they will be able to afford and collect something so unique, with the distinct silhouette that defines the DNA of my brand.
What was the design process like? How did it compare to creating a regular collection for you?
The design process was certainly very different —with H&M being so industrial, the fabrics and the techniques have been adapted to a lower price point. I see this collaboration more of another chapter than a ‘best of’ in the history of Giambattista Valli, with the collection being adapted to embrace the H&M customer while still conveying the spirit of Giambattista Valli and remaining 100% honest when it comes to the shapes, silhouettes and attitude.
From conception to execution was in no way different from when I sit down at my desk with a blank piece of paper in front of me: after that moment of introspection, I start sketching. What comes after is just about careful selection to use the best ingredients to make what I had imagined turn into reality. This time was no different with the exception that I knew I would have the H&M customer joining my other clients.
What I was adamant about it that like any of my collections the whole collaboration had to be executed with perfection in mind and the details of each piece is proven in the results.
What does it mean to you for more people to be able to wear your creations?
The collaboration was great way to understand how the Maison Giambattista Valli is perceived. It was a challenge to create and deliver the universe of Giambattista Valli on such a large scale but now seeing the amazing reaction to the first limited-edition drop, with people around the world sharing their beautiful moments in life wearing Giambattista Valli x H&M looks, and considering the reach of the collaboration announcement on social media exceeding more than half a billion people, it surprised me as much as it made me happiest to bring the Valli dream to a larger group of friends through this collaboration.
Do you have any favorite pieces?
I love every single piece of the collection, to me they feel like unique collector pieces rather than throw-away garments produced based on trends. They are timeless and meant to be kept in one’s wardrobe, to mix and match to the customer’s personal style, embracing their personality, which is also an approach in line with a very important concept that all of us in the industry should embrace :sustainability.
I truly treasure the span of offering and the variety of pieces from this collection : from street and daywear to evening and party looks, customers can enjoy the world of Giambattista Valli. I am also very proud of having approached menswear for the first time with this collaboration, although I always design for characters, regardless of their gender. Freedom of expression is the ultimate luxury, not the value of the price tag !
How do you stay inspired?
Ideas come from my muse, which is my curiosity, my travels and my culture, which is stored inside of me, inside the archives of my own mind. They are there and I visit them to pick up whatever inspires the moment I am living in.
It has been a constant progress of evolution. It is important to translate my vision of
contemporaneity through a narrative, I never forget when I create that there is always someone—a friend, a client, a muse, someone I notice in my wandering—who will be the final recipient of this piece and its original ideas being my creation.
What do you do when you feel like you’re having a creative block?
That is something that never happens to me. On the contrary, I’m someone with too many ideas. The most interesting moment in my process is when I find myself in front of a blank piece of paper and start to sketch, in the beginning of every collection; It is then that I entangle, tidy up and pick from the many references in my mind to create a narrative.
What will you remember most about summer 2019?
Although I love to travel and discover new cultures and countries and continue to do so every time I can, the ultimate luxury in today’s world to me is privacy, so I share and cherish these special moments each summer with my family and closest friends in Italy. My happy times.