Fast-fashion giant H&M has just announced that Giambattista Valli will be its designer collaborator for the year. You might not be familiar with this Paris-based and Italian-born designer (given that he works on womenswear and haute couture) but his designs should be visually familiar—they are often worn by A-list actresses when gracing the red carpet. Fun fact: he's dressed a total of 14 women at the Met Gala this year and had two of his works displayed at the Costume Institute’s Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibit.
He is not the first haute couture designer to take part in H&M's annual designer collaboration project. Karl Lagerfeld who was the first designer to take part in H&M's designer collaboration project, produced haute couture collections during his tenure at Chanel. With this collection, Valli joins H&M’s amazing roster of designer collaborators including Rei Kawakubo, Alber Elbaz, Alexander Wang, Donatella Versace and Martin Margiela.
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This fast-couture collection between H&M and Giambattista Valli will also feature, a first for Valli, menswear pieces alongside womenswear, with the theme of the collection centred around love stories from around the world. Selected pieces from the collection go on sale on 25 May 2019 in selected H&M stores around the world as well as online, before the full collection drops on 7 November 2019.
When asked about the collaboration, Valli says that he is "very surprised and flattered” by H&M's interest. He goes on to say that, “the idea is to bring the Valli DNA of extraordinary, of one-of-a-kind, of uniqueness, of couture. 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 flavour with them.”
While he didn't elaborate much on his menswear pieces, judging from early pictures of the collection, it does seem to focus on sharp tailoring and clean lines, topped off with pearl-lined leather loafers. No word yet on whether he has infused his signature mastery of tulle into the menswear pieces. But in any case, haute couture for men is always a welcomed addition.