Fashion

“It’s About Facing The Unknown”: Giambattista Valli On His AW21 Haute Couture Show

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Giambattista Valli shot his autumn/winter 2021 haute couture collection in the brutalist former headquarters of the communist party in Paris. Here, his pastel-coloured tulle dreams cut a surreal contrast to their surroundings, but Valli had more contradictions up his sleeve. Gradually, elements of darkness intersected the collection: a gorgeously tailored black suit with a cape, a priestly black cloak, and a gloomy black tulle gown. He used his juxtapositions to illustrate the psychology of the re-emergent state in which we currently find ourselves, elated to be freed from confinement, but uncertain of what the future brings. Anders Christian Madsen met Valli in his Paris couture salons.

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture autumn/winter 2021.

What motivated this collection?

Now, in Paris, there’s an energy that’s so beautiful, so youthful, so fresh. Everybody is out. There is this kind of generosity of happiness, and sharing, and being all together, and getting this lightness back again. It’s le go?t du louche.

What does that mean?

It’s like a taste of danger. To me, going out now is the idea of really living in the moment. The past is very heavy and the future is very uncertain, so it’s about being open and free. You make no expectations. You just get ready. And you have this slight sense of danger – in a positive way – because you’re going out facing the unknown. It’s very open.

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture autumn/winter 2021.

Is it a love letter to going out in Paris?

People still can’t travel so comfortably around the world, but ideas and dreams can travel. So, the idea is to share this moment of all over the world: why do people come to Paris? They dream of la ville lumières. Paris is the only town that’s glamorous when it’s raining. All the lights reflect in the water.

Is the danger element about living on the wild side?

It’s about being open. You don’t know where you’re going to land, you don’t know where you’re going to end up; it’s very open. That’s danger in a positive way: curiosity.

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture autumn/winter 2021.

You could say the collection is divided into two parts: darkness and lightness?

It’s fragments of memories. You can’t remember if it’s before or after or right now or in between. You don’t know if they’re in a private lounge or in a basement or in a parking lot or in a club or in a penthouse. Is it early morning or going out again?

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture autumn/winter 2021.

What is the answer?

It’s free! The black is night – very glamorous, with clouds of tulle – and the bright part is the sunrise in the morning, with all these fresh colours: pistachio, jade, pink.

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture autumn/winter 2021.

The tailoring is beautiful. What made you want to include menswear elements?

We’ve been jogging, we’ve been zooming… Now, this is how I want to dress.