Exclusive Interview: Giambattista Valli at the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show
Drew Altizer PhotographyGiambattista Valli and Doutzen Kroes at the Met Gala
"Everybody adores the San Francisco Ballet in Europe, it's considered one of the best ballets in the world!" Giambattista Valli explained when we asked what drew him to show his Fall 2011 collection for the annual San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show, adding "I thought it was the best opportunity to come to San Francisco, there is not a better opportunity than this to do a fashion show as a charity for a ballet."
All the city's lovers of ballet and fashion flocked to the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel last night, decked out in their finest designer dresses for a cocktail hour, auction, formal dinner and the much anticipated Giambattista Valli runway presentation.
The Italian designer, previously the creative director at Emanuel Ungaro, has swiftly made his way into the hearts (and closets) of Hollywood A-listers and socialites around the globe. In his 5 years of business, the likes of Iman, Olivia Palermo and Amy Adams have taken to his clean silhouettes, vibrant bursts of color and fanciful feminine frocks.
Our first glimpse of Valli was on the Fairmont Ballroom's empty runway for pre-show prep. The designer was all over the cat walk— guiding the models, taking photos with his iPhone, requesting corrections of the lighting. His fastidious eye and sharp focus contrasted sharply with his face-to-face persona—Valli was warm, easy going and quick to laugh.
Being the second showing of his Fall '11 collection, StyleBistro was curious as to how this presentation would differ from the original in Paris. Valli explained that he was trying to keep the show as intact as possible. "I spent 3 days explaining to the girls the attitude I wanted on the runway, wasn't so easy," Valli laughed, "I want to bring to the women here…exactly the same flavor."
We asked Valli about his large Hollywood fan base and specifically who he thinks truly epitomizes the Giambattista Valli woman, "Oh my god I have so many, I have a huge list, all of them. The Valli girls, I like all of them. They are so supportive…these are all my friends, they have supported me from the very very beginning."
Just last week Valli attended the Met Costume Gala with Doutzen Kroes wearing his finale piece from his Fall collection. We were fortunate enough to get a close look, and feel, of this meticulously constructed scarlet gown made of 350 feet of Swiss dot tulle. The brilliance of the design is that, in all it's glory, it is not fussy, the restrained drop-waist bodice was visually refined while still deliciously dramatic—romantic yet modern.
What is beautiful about the Met Ball is that sometimes you really see a moment…for example, Rihanna, she was walking in at the Met…she was almost naked, she had red hair with a braid on the side, she had like 6 body guards, super platforms, super high leather heels…With Dautzen I wanted to bring a moment. Because you know those are occasions where the public want to dream. It's very important to bring the dream. The most important thing in our business, is not...to sell, the first thing is let people dream. If you let them dream about you, you're already selling them.With pieces like Doutzen's, it seems natural Valli would receive the high honor of being asked to debut a Haute Couture line in July. Excited? Yes. But don't expect this designer to be shaking in his unlaced combat boots. When asked if he was nervous, Valli responded firmly, "Not at all." The designer went on to explain, "For stupid things I can get so nervous, but when there is like major things, important things, I'm totally calm. I'm totally focused."
What's in store for his pre-Fall and Fall collections? "I think you're going to see the best flats ever, and not just because I designed them," Valli joked. We'll be eagerly waiting, but for now we'll relish in his crisp graphic still life prints and the playful pops of neon from his Fall show or fawn over the mod color blocking and lemon chiffons of his Spring '11 collection. Besides, a Valli girl should be all about living in the moment, just like her designer. "I don't want to be tomorrow, I don't want to be yesterday. I want to be just now," Valli insisted, "When you are too much in the future it's like being too much in the past."
Check out StyleBistro's exlusive footage of Giambattista Valli's San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show:
Check out the celebs who adore Giambattista Valli:
Check out all the gorgeous gowns of the Met Gala: