The Cannes amfAR Gala is a famously glittering affair, with top designers squiring actresses and supermodels in haute couture against the sensational backdrop of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and the Mediterranean behind it. If this year’s gala is more glamorous than in the past, it’s thanks to Giambattista Valli and H&M, who announced a collaboration at the black-tie affair.
The Paris-based, Italian couturier has designed a limited-edition line of party dresses for his Valli girls, and, in a first, tailoring for Valli boys. The flash collection will drop in select H&M stores around the world and on the H&M website on Saturday, May 25. (A larger collection is to come November 7.) Last evening, Kendall Jenner, Chiara Ferragni, Bianca Brandolini, Chris Lee (Li Yuchun), H.E.R., and Ross Lynch are wearing the new designs, transforming amfAR’s red carpet into a veritable runway.
Valli called from Paris earlier this week in the midst of preparations, not just for his H&M launch, but also for a July couture show and a Resort 2020 collection before that. He dressed 14 women for the Met Gala, and he has two of his trademark fluro tulle couture confections in the Costume Institute’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition. “I was very surprised and flattered,” he said of H&M’s interest. “The idea is to bring the Valli DNA of extraordinary, of one-of-a-kind, of uniqueness, of couture. We have our fans and they see all these beautiful moments on the red carpet, Valli girls at official events. It’s a nice way to share this flavor with them.”
Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s creative advisor, is accompanying Valli and his models at the gala. “Giambattista is really a master when it comes to beauty and glamour and sophistication, we’re really happy to be working with him,” she told Vogue. “We always want to have different takes on the collaborations. This is different compared to Moschino last year. It’s the first time we’re working with someone doing couture.” Couture at H&M prices. Ranging from $17.99 to $649, Saturday’s pre-drop features clothes and accessories, including an interpretation of the gobstopper-size natural pearl necklace Valli never takes off.
“We called this project ‘Project Love,’” the designer said. “The thing that makes me most happy in life is if I can make someone happy. It’s beautiful if I can do that for a wider group of Valli girls and Valli boys.” He continued: “It was very fun to do men’s for the first time. You know, girls pick up things from men’s wardrobes. The Valli boys get prints, some shapes, some materials, and some embellishments from girls—they took it from her wardrobe.”
Originally published on Vogue US