Giambattista Valli talks personal taste: Part One

Giambattista Valli is best known for glamorous gowns that combine intricate embroidery and sharp, modern tailoring

Giambattista Valli in his Paris studio
Giambattista Valli in his Paris studio | Image: Lea Crespi

My personal style signifier is wearing black from head to toe – my uniform consists of black trousers by APC or Saint Laurent, an American Apparel T-shirt or Commes des Garçons dress shirt and a cashmere sweater – and either my strand of pearls that are a good-luck charm, or a necklace with a Georgian cross that was a gift from my friend Lee Radziwill. American Apparel, APC, Commes des Garçons, Saint Laurent,

The last thing I bought and loved was a hand-held portable LG projector for screening movies on the go. I work non‑stop and watching films is my one escapist pleasure. LG PB60G projector, from about £350;

Blenheim Bouquet eau de toilette, £85 for 100ml
Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet eau de toilette, £85 for 100ml

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a holiday. I’d like to go back to the Aman hotel in Venice, which is in an exquisitely restored palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal. The rooms are beautiful and the gardens an oasis of calm, but it’s the warm welcome and service that make this place so special and restorative. Palazzo Papadopoli, Calle Tiepolo 1364, 30125 Venice (+39041-270 7333;

The last music I downloaded was the soundtrack to the Wim Wenders film Pina, but I am open to all kinds of music. I tend to favour funk to wake me up or when I exercise, although I also love classical music. I enjoy listening to whatever moves my soul – or my body – at a particular moment in time.


The last meal that truly impressed me was at Da Adolfo in Positano. It is essentially a little cave on the beach, and I ate the most delicious mozzarella on lemon leaves and linguine with tomatoes and local lobster. The atmosphere in summer is magical and I can still taste the spectacular food. Via Laurito 40, 84017 Positano (+39089-875 022;

The books on my bedside table are actually in a stack next to my bed, because I like a very austere room without much furniture. Books are my biggest pleasure and I always have at least three on the go. Currently that’s A Cloudy Day in Babylon by Margaret Doody, The Red Book by CG Jung and The Old Garden by South Korean novelist Hwang Sok-Yong.

hand‑held LG projector,
from about £350
His hand‑held LG projector, from about £350 | Image: Lea Crespi

In my fridge you’ll always find Chateldon mineral water and Shu Uemura Depsea Hydrability masks. I never cook or eat at home, but I like to have these cooling, soothing fabric masks on hand – they work wonders after a late night. Chateldon, Shu Uemura, £42 for six;

The best gift I’ve given recently was a trip for four close friends to the Trianon Palace in Versailles, a lovely, secluded hotel. We went for walks around a scenic lake, enjoyed delicious dinners that lasted for hours and slept very well. Boulevard de la Reine 1, 78000 Versailles (+331-3084 5000;

good-luck pearls
Valli’s good-luck pearls | Image: Lea Crespi

And the best one I’ve received recently was a pearl and ruby necklace from a friend who is like a sister to me. She bought it at auction, and it’s the kind of big jewellery I think suits me best. It was a total surprise, which makes it even more special.

The beauty staple I’m never without is my Blenheim Bouquet eau de toilette from Penhaligon’s, which I have worn every day and night for the past 20-plus years. It smells fresh and healthy and puts me in a good mood. £85 for 100ml;

Tarfa Desert Sanctuary Lodge & Spa, Egypt
Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary Lodge & Spa, Egypt

The site that inspires me is Al Tarfa Lodge in the middle of the Egyptian desert. This sanctuary in the southwestern part of the country is the perfect place to clear the mind. Al Mansura, Dakhla Oasis, New Valley (+2010-0100 1109;

My favourite websites are CNN and AstrologyZone for Susan Miller’s horoscopes, but I tend to use apps more than the web. WeChat is one of my favourites for connecting with friends in Asia and CrossProcess is a fun one that lets you apply colours and filters to photographs. CrossProcess,


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