This French Luxury Giant Is Investing in Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli has a new London address. The designer set down roots at 29 Sloane Street, bringing a personal touch to his namesake label’s first flagship in the British capital. Valli said he designed the boutique “almost as my own apartment in London, decorated to welcome friends — and new friends.”

The store’s furniture was collected at auctions and antique shops and hails from a range of decades — including the Forties, Fifties and Seventies. Taupe carpeting and patches of patterned, wooden parquet soften its sleek, modern look, with endless mirrors and sharp-edged, boxy glass displays and shelving. A huge screen hovers over the staircase — the more than 2,500-square-foot space stretches between two floors.

Bright green Malachite coffee tables with bronze legs from Maison Charles are paired with a black leather modular couch from de Sede — a design staple from the Seventies.

The store also reflects the label’s expansion drive, which encompasses retail sites as well as a broadening offer of products, part of a strategy fueled by an injection of funding from Artemis, the investment arm of the Pinault family, the French billionaires behind the Kering group.

Founded in 2004, Maison Valli rapidly gained stature among luxury fashion houses, dressing celebrities like Amal Clooney and Diane Kruger. Known especially for red-carpet gowns, the brand recently branched out into denim and activewear, presenting chic and feminine renditions of puffer jackets and lace-lined jogging suits at the outset of this year.

“We’ve made a nice step in the past several months,” Valli said, referring to his label’s broadening reach.

“This is the future, to grow the largest proposition for the wardrobe of a woman for different occasions, for different moments, for her to go not only to a cocktail or red-carpet [event], but for the weekend, to take the kids to school, or for the office — to support her in the 24 hours of her day,” he added.

He also strives to reach across the generations, he said, noting the popularity of the house’s couture offer with a younger set.

Valli seeks to channel a certain form of “excellence” — in the French sense of the term, which projects the idea of something that is very refined. The store is also meant to be a private space for clients.

“Everything is very private to protect the customers, there is no indiscretion or looking into the windows,” he explained.

The label also has stores in Milan and Paris, and, on a seasonal basis, in St. Tropez, and is expanding to Asia. Through a partnership with Lee and Han Group, it just opened a second store in Seoul on Lotte Avenue, as well as one in the Yintai Centre in Beijing. Next on the agenda is Doha, Qatar. The brand is sold in 245 locations in 41 countries.

To Valli, who caters to an international audience, London carries a certain resonance. “London is a crossroads of the world, it’s a meeting point of so many cultures,” he noted, recalling spending time in the city as a teenager.

The expansion of the brand follows Valli’s exit from a decade-long partnership with Italian luxury outerwear label Moncler late last year, where he served as creative director for the Gamme Rouge line.

So what does Valli make of this stage of focusing solely on his namesake label?

“It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful. It’s really what I was looking for. I was really looking forward to concentrating on my expansion…to have the time to think, and to express and be concentrated on this beautiful project that is something I’ve been working on all my life, more or less.”

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