Giambattista Valli x H&M
- November 5, 2019
Giambattista Valli is loved by stylish women of all ages, known as the Valli Girls. So far, the designer has never created clothing for men, which makes his debut in menswear with the Giambattista Valli x H&M collection particularly exciting. For the first time, the Valli Girls will meet their Valli Boys: as spirited, individual, eccentric and eclectic as one would expect.
Not a designer to follow the beaten track, Giambattista Valli approached menswear in reverse. Instead of having women borrow pieces from the men’s wardrobe, as it usually happens, Valli explored the idea of free-spirited men taking pieces, patterns and fabrics from the women’s wardrobe; sampling and mixing freely, like DJs. The choice of flesh pink as the basic color – the simplest tee in the collection is pink, not white – says it all.
The collection is a quirky selection of timeless items meant to be adopted and adapted, mixed and matched. The animal patterns, flower motifs, punk allure and military glamour suggests an eclectic vision of masculine style: the same cool approach to the art of dressing of a Berlin artist, say, with the insouciant laissez-faire of a skater. The Valli Boy comes across as a free-spirited bohemian, part surfer part art collector, who mixes bits, references and pieces; an eccentric globetrotter who breaks the rules. Girls are invited to wear the collection, too.
The pieces that make the strongest impact, and perfectly capture the masculine/feminine spirit of the collection, are the coats, parkas and blousons: a veritable feast of eccentric prints, luscious embellishment and personality. The leopard spots long coat and the embroidered black riding coat sum up Valli’s approach to menswear: they started life in Valli’s women’s collections and are now adapted to the men’s wardrobe. The embroidered tailcoat is a homage to the jacket worn by French intellectuals and artists when they join the Académie Française. High uniform embroideries elevate and glamorize a bleached denim jacket. The dovetail parka is overprinted with art portraits to great effect; red leather and plush fabrics give blousons an aristocratic allure.
A master when it comes to precise lines, Giambattista Valli offered his own vision of sharp tailoring with an eclectic vibe in the collaboration with H&M. Central is the double-breasted blazer, which comes in a rather surprising tiger print, and is meant to be worn with cargo pants, dressed down instead than up. The sharp dress shirts are equally surprising: a collarless one in white silk features a pleated bib, another one swarms in flower prints; the humble denim shirt is embroidered on the collar and front.
A designer with an unremitting point of view on everything, Giambattista Valli gave his own, precious spin to basic everyday items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies. The central piece here is a black sweatshirt with an art print and an embroidered string of white pearls around the neck, identical to the one Giambattista wears every day: a veritable feat of ease and sophistication. Leopard and flower motifs swarm on tees and hoodies. High uniform embroideries give the zip-up hoodie a majestic touch. Fatigues and track pants come in eye-catching, genderless animal print versions.
There is a bit of autobiography to the accessories selection: Giambattista Valli hand-picked some of his own favourite items to complement the collection. Not only are the boots and the crepe-soled lace-ups identical to the ones the designer wears, but so are the sports socks - which come in white, black, flower and leopard prints - the sunglasses and of course the string of white pearls, which are a whimsical signature touch. A painted duffle bag, beanies and sunglasses complete the offer.
The elements to play with are eclectic and varied. And the styling is up to all the aspiring Valli Boys.