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Giambattista Valli: “True Luxury Is When Others Come To You”

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Giambattista Valli’s star continues to rise. For Spring, the designer showed his best-received collection yet—”There’s something about Giambattista Valli’s clothes that is so fundamentally optimistic, they’ve got you at hello,” said’s Tim Blanks—and last week, the designer opened his first Paris boutique, in the centuries-old Galerie de la Madeleine. “It’s an arrival, but like all arrivals, it’s a new starting point,” Valli said as we left his showroom across the way, a sprawling space whose original boiseries and imposing mantels once decorated the home of a fellow Giambattista: Giambattista Lulli, the seventeenth-century composer to King Louis XIV and founder of the French national opera.

Although bigger than a boudoir and more modern, the shop, which Valli created with architect and jewelry designer Luigi Scialanga, conveys a certain intimacy. It is punctuated by personal touches that reflect Valli’s eclectic interests, from original sketches by Yves Saint Laurent to forties Italian furniture. “I love bringing back the beauty of things,” he says, pointing out eighteenth-century porcelain pharmacy jars and a unique Fornasetti triptych mirror. Below, Valli discusses his vision of luxury and his manifold muses, and shares a few exclusive new shots of the store.

How did you approach creating this space?
These were several little shops before so we connected them and opened everything from floor to ceiling. I worked with Luigi Scialanga, the architect who does custom jewelry for my shows. We had to restore everything, then build it up again. I’m also presenting some of his one-off pieces of jewelry; he also designed trompe l’oeil upholstery for antique chairs and black croc throws (available by special order) for the shoe salon.

It looks sort of like a personal gallery.
If some guests come to my house, the feeling is exactly like the one you have in this boutique. I receive a customer as if it were my house so they feel like they’re meeting me.

I really wanted to create the feeling of privacy. For me, that is what luxury is about today: having a moment in a private space. I love the idea of having big windows yet not exposing the whole store. When you’re inside you feel protected, like you’re in another dimension. Some customers have already reserved the space for private appointments. Read the rest of this entry >

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