Stepping outside of his design comfort zone, couturier and proponent of romance, Giambattista Valli, ushers in a new chapter of his character with his H&M collaboration.
A designer’s foray into the collaborative world of H&M comes with a preamble of pushing beyond their limits and comforts, as much as they flex their design muscles. The obvious stretch here is a draping of their creative, often high-fashion and couture aesthetic to something considerably pared down for a retail palate. This parlaying of design also means widening the market even more, with some traditionally female-only brands venturing into menswear for the first time.
Two years ago, Erdem crafted its first menswear pieces for their H&M collaboration, which was met with critical and commercial success. A proper essaying of point-of-view was realized in precise tailoring, printed silk sets, and Victorian-esque detailed separates, the partnership proved that stepping outside one’s comfort zones can prove to artistically and even financially viable. Taking this template and making it into his own, famed European couturier and steadfast bearer of romance, Giambattista Valli breaks new ground with his collaboration with H&M with his first menswear collection as well.
In his collection, aptly titled #Project♥, Giambattista Valli anchors his fashion exposition on love stories, bringing in his unique brand of passion to the rest of the world. “The idea is to bring the Valli DNA of extraordinary, of one-of-a-kind, of uniqueness, of couture,” he says. “We have our fans and they see all these beautiful moments on the red carpet, Valli girls at official events. It’s a nice way to share this flavor with them.” This expression of love sees a newfound form in his menswear, which he has never offered before. “It’s something that [was always] very in the back of my mind,” Valli said in a phone call to GQ. “But you know, it was great to have this occasion to start to understand: who’s this guy next to this girl—her best friend, or boyfriend, or gay friend, or anything.”
And the result is a seamless extension of the Giambattista Valli universe, with frothy decadence, rendered in streamlined silhouettes, which takes on a different kind of edge for the contemporary, sartorially conscious man. It is “a great possibility to do something unexpected,” he affirms. True enough, there is much to see and style within the collection, even compelling the possibility of borrowing for the girls, a proposition that has been more and more accepted and almost de rigeuer in society today.
A great convergence of the sensible and stylish, the Giambattista Valli x H&M collection brings elements that are standard for menswear, such as acid-splashed trousers with multiple pockets, tailored coats decorated with floral and neo-classical trims, suit sets realized in feline prints and sequins, pullovers painted in Renaissance-like circumstance, and hoodies decked out in pearls. While it is crafted for the head-turner and style standout, the collaboration doesn’t alienate with its opulence. What it does is make it more accessible to ease in a careful sense of excess, ushering a truly more inclusive fashion. There is no wallflower-ing or fading into the background. In this moment, everyone is in on the party of love.
The Giambattista Valli x H&M collection will be launched worldwide on November 7, 2019. It will be only available at H&M Greenbelt 4 and on hm.com.