Giambattista Valli: Bringing Drama to the High Street

H&M has a long track record of collaborations, having worked with nineteen haute couture designers since 2004. This lofty roll call includes the likes of Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and Erdem. The Swedish mega-brand’s latest collection, however, is perhaps the most ambitious to date.

Giambattista Valli is not the first person one would associate with the high street. Opulent embroidery, dramatic chiffon ruffles, and a particular preference for theatrics; the designer’s signature styles are certainly not every day conventional outfits. The prices are not either, with ready-to-wear dresses starting at £2,000 and couture from £15,00. It is this very juxtaposition that makes the new line so thrilling.

Illustration by Himarni Brownsword

Speaking to the press earlier this year, Valli commented that he “saw it as a challenge” to adapt his brand for the masses and that it was an “opportunity to do something unexpected.” This ‘something unexpected’ was first unveiled in May when supermodel Kendall Jenner wore one of the collection’s fabulously ostentatious gowns on the Cannes red carpet. It immediately sent the internet into a frenzy, as millions of fervent fashion followers tried to obtain the garment from a mini launch design