Friday, May 31, 2019

Giambattista Valli x H&M: Everything You Need To Know

On Thursday May 23, H&M unveiled its 2019 designer collaboration at the amfAR gala in Cannes, and it's certainly the high street giant's most red-carpet worthy collection yet. The announcement of Giambattista Valli x H&M followed a few hours of speculation after eagle-eyed Instagram users spotted both brands had changed their profile images to the same heart logo earlier that day. With five designs, worn by five muses – Kendall Jenner, Chiara Ferragni, Bianca Brandolini, Chris Lee (Li Yuchun), H.E.R., and Ross Lynch – the glamorous annual amfAR soiree was the perfect backdrop to reveal the Swedish retailer's partnership with Giambattista Valli, the master of frothy gowns with extravagant trains and exquisite cocktail dresses.

For those less familiar with Valli's sumptuous creations, the Rome-born, Paris-based couture and ready-to-wear designer launched his eponymous brand in 2005, having previously worked for the Fendi family and as Creative Director at Emaunel Ungaro. In July 2011 he presented his first couture collection, accepted as an official member of the incredibly exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

The Giambattista Valli x H&M looks showcased on the Cannes red carpet were then available to buy at 12 select H&M stores and from Saturday May 25 (the first time the collaboration has dropped almost immediately after the announcement) before the full collection hits stores and online on November 7. Brace yourself for a stampede as the limited-edition early drop sold out almost instantly, bar the GBV x H&M ribbed socks.

“H&M gives me the opportunity to bring my vision of style and my celebration of beauty to a wider audience. The goal is to share my love for beauty and to be able to be part of everyone’s 'happy moments', to help create love stories all around the world," Valli enthused.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Giambattista Valli. He is the undisputed master of haute couture with a knack for the memorable silhouette," Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M, added. "To be able to bring his signature styles to our customers is a dream come true. We can’t wait to see their reactions to this beautiful collection.”

The idea of a couture designer – renowned for his intricate, opulent creations – recreating his vision for the high street might sound problematic, but Valli's AW19 ready-to-wear collection could offer some indication of what to expect come November.

Including floral oversized blazers, weightless ruffled French country dresses, patchwork mini dresses and plumed heels, the designer's most recent ready-to-wear pieces, shown at Paris Fashion Week back in March, were modern, playful and ultimately very wearable. With price points around £100-£399 for the H&M collection, fabrics might not be as luxurious, but hopefully we can still expect those beautiful silhouettes.

Backstage at his spring/summer 2019 couture show in January, Valli told Vogue's Fashion Critic, Anders Christan Madsen: “The youngest haute couture customers all over the world, they’re mine!” Couture may be an elitist world, enjoyed by the wealthiest fashion consumers, but Valli's fans are some of the youngest in the category and his collaboration with H&M is about to tap into a considerably broader audience. "Go big or go home," he continued in January. "Even if it’s small it has to be full of embroidery. We sell a dream at the end of the day.” Now you, too, can buy into the couture dream.

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