Giambattista Valli

Born: Rome, Italy, 1966

Designer Biography Giambattista Valli

Raised in Italy, Giambattista Valli attended one of Rome’s Vatican schools.

In 1980, while studying art at a Roman liceo scientifico, Valli was introduced to Jean Cocteau’s drawings and fashion illustrations for Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. Inspired by the watercolours and styles, he copied and imitated them.

In 1986 Valli attended the European Design Institute in Rome. Following this he moved  to London and enrolled on a foundation illustration course at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design.

After studying in both Italy and England, Valli returned to Rome to work for Cecilia Fanfani. Through this he secured a job working for Roberto Capucci in 1988. Initially in public relations, he was later promoted to be part of the design team. Here his use of colour and dramatic clothing was encouraged and he later commented to Vogue, ‘Capucci was the biggest schooling I had. It wasn’t just about the technical knowledge, such as color and volume, but also about the secret rules, and the beautiful codes of respect between the atelier and the master’.

Two years later Valli was appointed as Senior Designer for the Fendissime line. In 1955 he was named Senior Designer for Women’s Pret-a-Porter at Krizia.

Valli moved to Paris in 1997 to work for Emanuel Ungaro as Art Director for the ready-to-wear collections. The following year Valli was named creative director of Emanuel Ungaro. Valli worked closely with Emanuel Ungaro until 2004 when he left the company due to personal disagreements.

In 2004 Valli signed a five year contract with Italian company Gilmar to produce and distribute his own collections. His first solo collection was launched in 2005 and received critical acclaim. Valli was likened to the work of Stefano Pilati. In 2004 Valli was named co-creative director of Iceberg with Paolo Gerani.

Valli turned down the creative director’s position at Valentino in 2007 to instead focus on his own career. The following year Valli added accessories, fur and Bridal collections to his label.

In 2009 Valli’s contract with Gilmar ended and he signed a five year agreement with Mariella Burani Fashion Group. The following year Valli terminated his contract with Mariella Burani and bought his production in-house.

Valli produced his first haute couture collection in 2011 showing in Paris that year. It received critical acclaim. 2011 also saw Valli collaborate with Macy’s for a limited collection.

Giambattista Valli is known for his timeless elegance. Offering chic clothes for the jet setter’s lifestyle, some of his ready-to-wear clothes have been likened to couture designs. Valli’s designs are for years, not seasons.

The Giambattista Valli brand is currently owned by Giambattista Valli himself, with a minority shareholding by Groupe Artémis since 2017. Its headquarters are situated in a historic building on Rue Boissy d’Anglas, which also houses its main store. The store, designed by Luigi Scialanga, exclusively offers ready-to-wear collections, leather goods, and accessories such as shoes, bags, and jewellery. Giambattista Valli has flagship stores in Paris, London, Milan, Saint Tropez, Doha, Seoul, and Beijing, and is globally distributed with over 245 selling points.

In 2017, Giambattista Valli ended its contract with Italian fur-maker Ciwi Furs, leading to the brand bringing all production and distribution in-house. Prior to this, Giambattista Valli ready-to-wear, couture, and collaborations were estimated to generate approximately $80 million in sales annually.

Aside from the Giambattista Valli brand, the designer has also launched other ventures. In 2014, he introduced Giamba, a younger sister ready-to-wear line, which debuted at a runway show in Milan. Additionally, in the same year, Giambattista Valli designed a spring collection for 7 for All Mankind, a denim brand. From 2008 to 2017, Valli served as the Creative Director of Moncler Gamme Rouge, where he pioneered a refined approach to activewear for women, particularly in the use of puffer jackets. In 2017, he further expanded his repertoire by launching an activewear capsule collection featuring coats, puffer jackets, sweatshirts, and track suits. In 2019, Giambattista Valli collaborated with H&M to release a capsule collection for both men and women, marking his first venture into menswear.

Giambattista Valli has received several notable recognitions for his work. He was honoured with a Star Honoree Award from Fashion Group International in 2011 in New York and was named Best Designer of the Year by Elle China in 2013 and Marie Claire Spain in 2015.

Giambattista Valli Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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