Geoffrey Ross Image by: Geoffrey Ross
Giambattista Valli has teamed up with long-time collaborator M.A.C Cosmetics to produce five limited-edition matte lipsticks and a pot of high-shine gloss that will hit stores in July.
“The first thing I thought of when designing this collection was the idea of dressing your lips with Giambattista Valli,” the designer told us at his New York showroom. “This Valli girl, she’s a passionate kind of woman. She laughs, she kisses, she talks—she’s very alive.” How she wears the collection—matte lipstick worn solo or layered with gloss, gloss used as a highlighter on cheekbones—is entirely up to her, says Valli, who counts Amal Clooney and Diane Kruger as clients. “I always need the support of the woman. Even though I created these lipstick shades, it’s the woman who gives them life.”
From left: Lipstick in Bianca B, Charlotte, Margherita, Eugenie and Tats ($21 each)
Below, read more of our interview with the designer.
How was designing a makeup collection different from your normal design process?
"You know what, I've worked with M.A.C the last ten years, starting with my first collection. So there is this very natural relation between fashion and beauty, something we built it up – this image of this woman with M.A.C. The moment we knew it was going to be 10 years for this collaboration, we said let's do something to [mark] it. I think [these] colours are one of the signature things of Giambattista Valli. It’s feminine. It’s a label for women. I love the idea of radically changing your look with a different colour on the lips – we had this idea to match the inside colour with the outside so it’s practical – when you have it in your bag, you can find it right away without checking [the colour inside the tube]."
What keeps you creative?
"I’m curious about everything... it can be anything. Everywhere in every single moment. Some things call me and others I don’t even look at. There are things that come to me and I look at them and hold it in my mind. And the day that it comes out of my mind I put it in a lipstick or a book or garment."
Is there a specific time period that you look back to for inspiration?
"Right now is a very inspiring moment [in time], I can say."
What are you currently reading and/or watching?
"I don’t have a TV. I don’t watch TV at all. But I read a lot of books."
"I love biographies a lot. I’m reading a philosophy book but the title is in Italian: The Utility of the Useless. So what we think is useless, how useful it is. Flowers can be [seen as] useless, but are useful."
And is music a source of inspiration for you as well? Because the music on your website…
...it’s very particular.
"It’s the soundtrack of life sometimes, no? Some music reminds you of a specific moment of your life. Tracy Chapman reminds me of when I was 18 or 19 years old in London...and then Sade remind me like when I was in New York. "Diamonds" by Rihanna reminds me about partying in New York." [Laughs]
Is there something you always bring with you when you travel?
"My music, toothbrush, my pillow."
You bring your own pillow?
"Of course, always. I have a very specific pillow."
Do you have a favourite beauty look on a woman?
"Beauty is a mental position. You have to feel beautiful to be beautiful. It’s not a physical thing."
What are some stand-out moments from the past ten years of Giambattista Valli?
"There's so many. Probably the best part of these ten years is all the risks that I took and I’m still taking. So that’s something that keeps me alive and young....Or it’s like, if I think of this dress [Rihanna's 2015 Grammy gown] I think of Rihanna wearing it, or if I think of that dress I think of Amal wearing it, or when I look at another one I think of Diane Kruger being beautiful. But I always need the support of the woman to be alive and to be represented."