Giambattista Valli is a designer whose work truly embodies the idea of fashion as art – his trademark tulle and dreamy, feminine gowns have a reputation for expert craftsmanship thanks to Valli’s eye for detail, and his dresses appeal to some of the most famous and well-dressed women in the world.
This includes Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who was among the beautifully-dressed guests his autumn/winter 2023 show during Paris Fashion Week on Friday afternoon. Bingbing is a huge of the brand; she refers to Valli as “an incredible and creative designer” and has worn both his couture and ready-to-wear designs on many occasions.
We had a moment to catch up with Bingbing after the show. Below, see what she had to say about when feels her most beautiful, how her style has evolved over the years and exactly what goes into her styling process.
Talk us through your look for the Giambattista Valli show
“It was a ready-to-wear show, but the outfit I wore was from the brand’s couture line. It’s a beautiful coat with gold sequins and coloured feathers all over; the entire outfit was so artistic and the silhouette is quite architectural, almost like a tower. I think Giambattista Valli is such an incredible and creative designer, and in each of his outfits, you can see the craftsmanship shine through in every detail. The dress is so beautiful and felt like it exuded a feminine power, so it felt perfect for me to wear.”
How do you decide which brands you want to work with?
“I work with brands that I personally like – I don’t want every cooperation to be based just on business. I hope that I can work together with brands to create artistic value and introduce more interesting brands to my fans in China. For this Paris Fashion Week, I didn’t work with brands based on sales or advertising but chose brands based on technique and creativity. The fashion houses we worked with this time are each so unique and pioneering in their artistic direction, so it was really a fantastic experience for us to communicate with them on an artistic and meaningful level.”
How involved do you tend to be with the styling process?
“I’m very self-motivated when it comes to styling and fashion and I have a very clear point of view. My personal stylist has worked with me for almost 20 years, so we’re not just co-workers, we’re also really good friends. Our tastes and concept of style are so similar that we have been able to work together for so long – every outfit is a result of discussion and collaboration between us. We consider how to make the look fit the brand itself and its particular style for that season, and my own style as well. In the end, every look has its own kind of spirit.”
How has your style evolved over the years?
“As I’ve matured, I’m not as crazy as I used to be about buying clothes, but I always keep track of fashion and love watching fashion shows. Paris Fashion Week sets the trajectory for where fashion is going each year, so I keep track of the trends every season; the new ideas and the significance these brands bring to the world. In everyday life I dress for comfort – I don’t wear things that will feel restrictive or uncomfortable. I also appreciate good quality clothing and pay a lot of attention to craftsmanship and fabrics.”
What has been your most memorable fashion moment in recent years and why?
“I think this fashion week has left me with such a fantastic impression. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to travel to Paris for the last three years, so this trip was really memorable for me. It felt like my comeback to Paris Fashion Week and I loved all of my looks, especially this Valli outfit and then Schiaparelli – these two looks were such different styles, but they were both so modern and interesting for me.”
Whose style have you always admired and why?
“I have so many actors that I admire but in terms of fashion, I think choices are really individual, so it’s difficult to name a particular style idol. Everyone has their own personal style that can’t be replicated. There are so many people who have such unique personalities, and it really depends on each person’s vibe and what they want to portray. As long as you’re having fun with fashion, that’s all that matters.”
What is your ideal getting-ready set-up?
“I need a comfortable room. Ideally, there would be some incense or candles, with a comfortable temperature and soft warm lighting, these are the most important things to me when getting ready for an event or show.”
When do you feel most beautiful?
“I feel the most beautiful when I’m about to go to sleep; I’ve taken off my make-up and showered, so I’m clean-faced and ready for bed. I feel like the most natural version of me and I’m ready for a good sleep – the comfort of this feeling is absolutely gorgeous.”
Fashion has a reputation for being frivolous, but why does what we wear matter?
“Fashion is an industry after all. It represents the culture of our times, which makes it absolutely indispensable; humans need art just like they need food and shelter. Each generation has its own concept of fashion and art, and this is not shallow at all. I believe everyone instinctually has a love for beauty, so fashion is something that naturally follows us as humans whether men or women.”