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Giambattista Valli brought a gust of haute couture finesse — and a very unexpected, leg-baring wedding bodysuit — to Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week as guest designer of its 2024 edition.

The Paris-based Italian designer, who staged a catwalk show on Thursday as the centerpiece of the Bridal Night gala, showcased 10 haute couture gowns, 10 styles from his first two annual Love bridal capsules and 10 looks from his new Love 3 range, including a “twin set” gown with a frilly cape that can be worn in lieu of a veil, and then removed for the reception.

Having dressed such famous women as Amal Clooney, Charlotte Casiraghi, Jessica Biel and, most recently, Tatiana de Pahlen for their nuptials, Valli has accrued a unique point of view on wedding dresses, which he sees as “detached from fashion,” impervious to trends and “suspended in a dreamy moment.

“It’s a fairy-tale kind of moment,” he mused. “You want to be yourself, but you want to be somewhere else, too.”

He has long likened designing an haute couture wedding dress to a psychotherapy session with each bride-to-be, during which he discusses her childhood dreams of wedding dresses and her present-day style. “It’s about trying to pull something unexpected from this person you have in front of you,” he explained.

Other famous women he’s dressed for wedding festivities include Charlotte Dellal, Victoria Tang, Margherita Missoni, Feiping Chang, Selby Drummond and Noor Fares.

Dresses from his Love capsule address longstanding requests for bridal options from his ready-to-wear clients — and reflect a range of silhouettes that can be broadly characterized as “mermaid” or “cupcake,” endearing shorthand for sleek, body-hugging gowns, and frothier ones with more demonstrative volumes and lavish embellishments.

“It’s like adding different personalities into the Giambattista Valli language,” he said in an interview at his bright, high-ceilinged Paris headquarters overlooking the Place de l’Opera.

The designer noted that new generations tend to be more confident about showing their bodies, and possess strong preferences about proportions and how they want to look.

That said, Valli must also consider that weddings today take place in a staggering variety of settings, from tropical beaches and historical villas to more urban settings. An expanded range of Valli bridal footwear reflects the variety of settings, from ballerina-like flats and delicate, barely there sandals to imposing platform shoes popular among petite brides.

His bridal bodysuit, for example, riffs on the opening look from his spring 2024 haute couture runway, but interpreted in white tulle and paired with a big frothy cape. He allows that it’s a slightly “outrageous” proposition, but he could envision such a look worn by the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy or Hunter Schafer, for example.

Valli takes more of a special-occasion, playful approach to bridal design, while at the same time offering a range of silhouettes from racy to romantic, including more covered-up options with long sleeves. He said he also pays careful attention to the back of gowns, and his cape, train and veil options, knowing that’s what wedding guests will gaze at the longest during the ceremony.

At the same time he’s discovered that “Valli girls” — who relate to his romantic, dreamy and sometimes extravagant creations — can be found in nearly every corner of the world.

Today the designer boasts haute couture devotees from China, Philippines, the Middle East, the U.S., South America, Europe and, most recently, Africa.

He sees his Love bridal capsule fitting somewhere in between his rtw and haute couture. Already wedding attire — for the bride, bridal party and guests — represents about 60 percent of his haute couture activity.

Dresses from the Love capsule are produced in Italy and France, and incorporate the know-how Valli has acquired since launching haute couture in 2012, emblematic of his desire to stoke the dreaminess of fashion.

His participation in Barcelona Bridal Week reaffirms the designer’s commitment to the bridal space, and ambition to become a reference witihin it.

His first Love capsule was sold exclusively via trunk shows around the world, later opening up to wholesale partners including Printemps in Paris and 51 East in Doha.

In Asia, Valli’s partners include Soyoo Bridal in South Korea and Treat in Japan, and it has done trunk shows in Hong Kong with the Loft, one of the city’s more confidential addresses. In the U.S., Valli has done bridal trunk shows with the likes of Ever After in Miami, Bloomingdale’s in New York and Stanley Korshak in Dallas.

He noted that Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, which attracts key international retailer, will allow him to fine-tune his selective distribution strategy.

Roughly 400 Spanish and international brands present wedding and communion-related collections in Barcelona via catwalk shows and in showroom displays.

Valli is the latest marquee designer to headline the Spanish fair, which ends its five-day run on Sunday. Elie Saab and Viktor & Rolf staged bridal shows in Barcelona in 2023 and 2022, respectively.

In parallel with his bridal push, Valli has recently been expanding his offering of daywear and “easy pieces” in his main collection, while also launching his label’s first beach and swimwear capsule.



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