Giambattista Valli x H&M has released their Roman based campaign lensed by Mert & Marcus just ahead of the collection’s November 7th debut.
Rome is a fitting location for the campaign narrative as Giambattista Valli was born and raised in Rome. The designer’s first formative work experience was alongside master couturier Roberto Capucci, an artist working with fabric, followed by a long stint at Roman based Fendi, where he was the creative director for the influential Fendissime line.
Valli decamped to Milan to work at Krizia until called by Emanuel Ungaro, he moved to Paris in the late 90s to forge a singular path within the celebrated Parisian house. He eventually went solo and opened the Giambattista Valli fashion house, launching his namesake collection in 2005.
Today Valli calls Paris home, while still remaining true to his Roman roots, as seen with this new collection. A couturier and a bon vivant surrounded by an ever-growing entourage of aristocratic “Valli girls,” Giambattista is quite private about his personal life, but very articulate when it comes to expressing his professional visions and inspirations. He is joining other previous collaborators such as Alexander Wang, Donatella Versace, and even the late Karl Lagerfeld
For the campaign, model Kendall Jenner joins singer/songwriter H.E.R. alongside other influential faces including actor Cameron Monaghan from Shameless, DJ Clara 3000, model Luka Isaac, and musician Chris Lee. Mert & Marcus lens the talents all basking in Giambattista Valli’s hometown of Rome, capturing the mood from the fabric-covered walls lined with floor-to-ceiling oil paintings, to the manicured gardens.
I want H&M customers to get access to the Valli dream and make whatever they want out of it. What I am offering them is a style, not fashion: something with a deeper meaning and a longer life. There won’t be throwaway pieces in the collection, but items customers will want to keep in their wardrobes for a long time. The Giambattista Valli x H&M collection allows me to bring beauty to everyone.– Giambattista Valli
The campaign is designed to also play the field spread out to offer a little something for everyone casting talents as diverse as influencer Chiara Ferragni and DJ Clara 3000, but one has to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better off with a more narrow talent selection and creating a more memorable message of what Valli truly stands for which is romantic luxury. Instead, the campaign gives us a hint of a fairy tale but no narrative to support one. It is all setting and style without a message of substance which may result in less demand than previous designer collaborative outings.
Perhaps this is due to the designer himself who has yet to delve into clarifying his own brand’s message through a campaign even on his own Instagram. Overall it is a reminder that in today’s narrative culture with a low cost of entry to sharing a designer vision, one’s vision has to be more than simply a beautiful dress and the celebrity wearing them. One can’t have a happy ending without a story to end.
Written by Julia Cooper
Giambattista Valli x H&M Creative Director | Giambattista Valli
Photographer/Director | Mert & Marcus
Talents | Kendall Jenner, Chiara Ferragni, Cameron Monaghan, Luka Isaac, Chris Lee, DJ Clara 3000, & H.E.R.
Stylist | Melanie Ward
Hair | Holli Smith
Makeup | Val Garland
Casting Director | Piergiorgio Del Moro
Set Designer | David White
Location | Rome