In Rome’s opulent Palazzo Doria Pamphilj – think priceless paintings, Fiat-sized crystal chandeliers and a mirrored room inspired by Versailles – Giambattista Valli hosted the runway show for his upcoming collection with H&M. (You may recognize the space from the campaign imagery.)

The location, chosen by the Roman-born, Paris-based fashion designer, was not unlike ones in which Valli hosts his haute couture shows – and that was entirely the point. The collection was meant to bring his design sensibility to H&M’s mass-market audience, and features some of designer’s most recognizable and beloved codes, like embroidered florals and Rihanna-worthy gowns, at a price point that tops out at $500.

“We were invited to Giambattista’s atelier in Paris,” said Ann Sofie Johansson, creative advisor for H&M, at the press conference for the collection. Together, the duo pored over the Valli archives. “He really wanted us to understand his world.”

Left: Rihanna wears a Giambattista Valli gown in 2017. Right: Kendall Jenner wears Giambattista Valli x H&M collection, available in stores November 7, 2019.

Valli included menswear, a first for the designer, as part of the collection (which also includes shoes and accessories), though he doesn’t identify the pieces as being distinctively “for men” or “for women.”

“Everyone can wear this collection,” says Valli, referencing how Kurt Cobain was comfortable wearing Courtney Love’s dresses. “You’re free to express yourself in the way you want.  The casting, the concept, the way we put the clothes together, it’s all about this message.”

Rather than borrowing from traditional menswear (boyfriend jeans and tuxedos, for example), “I wanted to go into [a woman’s] wardrobe and bring the femininity to men,” he explains.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the show, including makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench’s colourful, dazzling beauty looks (that are sure to draw Euphoria comparisons) in the below video.


See how Kendall Jenner, Alexa Demie and other celebrities styled the Giambattista Valli x H&M collection, available in select H&M stores across Canada on November 7, below.

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