Designer Giambattista Valli Dishes on His New MAC Lipstick Collection

Giambattista Valli is launching a collection of lipsticks for MAC on July 9. (Photo: MAC)

Giambattista Valli is the latest designer to collaborate with MAC, and his obsession with colors and flowers provided the perfect foundation for an exquisite new collection of lipsticks. This year, the Paris-based "it" designer who's dressed everyone from Amal Clooney to Rihanna is celebrating 10 years of his self-titled fashion house as well as a decade partnering with MAC on his runway shows. In honor of this occasion, Valli has created five vibrant matte lipsticks and a clear gloss to transform the lipsticks into — you guessed it —10 different combinations. Also big news: For the first time ever, MAC has color-matched the packaging to the lipstick bullets, so you know exactly which tube you’re grabbing. We sat down with Valli to discuss his newest creations. Be sure to scoop them up on July 9.

Joanna Douglas: The first thing I noticed was the packaging matches the lipsticks. I haven’t seen that at MAC before. Is that something that you really wanted to make happen?

Giambattista Valli: Yes, because I think it is practical when you put it in your bag and you can recognize right away the colors that you want to put on your lips. You don’t have to open and check.

When did you start working with MAC?

The beginning of my story was 10 years ago, when I started my first show. We were on from the very beginning.

How did that evolve into saying “I want my own collection with MAC”?

We wanted to do something collectable for the 10 years of Giambattista Valli — we thought it would be nice to have a collaboration and do something impactful. Lipstick can really almost change a personality or the face of a woman. My collections are always colorful. It’s my signature point. I’m not afraid about colors, flowers, patterns. Everybody has his own identity. There are some designers that are known just for the black.

Giambattista Valli x MAC lipsticks will sell for $18 each. (Photo: MAC)

What was your thought process on these shades?

Fetish colors are all the reds and pinks — they were telling the timeless story of Giambattista Valli. So I said to myself, “It would be very nice to dress your lips in Giambattista Valli and have these colors on it.” And then, I wanted to put these two opposite attitudes:  Something extremely matte, almost pigmented, that’s very contemporary, modern, and graphic, and then at the same time something very fun. So the same matte color you can turn it into something more pop and do it glossy.

What do you hope to achieve with the collection? Do you want to make your brand more accessible?

I think it was the opportunity to collect a Giambattista Valli piece for everybody. It’s something that can really renovate your wardrobe, really adjust the colors on the lips. It combines both of us because it’s a collaboration, but it’s very different from MAC — that kind of Parisian sophistication of haute couture and everything. MAC is more dynamic and pop, so it’s also to attract even other customers. And for me, to meet new people in the house. I think every time somebody new chooses you and likes what you do it’s like a new friend in the house.

Giambattista Valli for MAC. From left to right: Lipstick in Bianca B, Margherita, Tats, Charlotte, Eugenie ($18 each), Crystal Glaze Gloss in Lena ($23) (Photo: MAC)

Did you know that you wanted to do five lipsticks? Were you deciding between a couple of shades?
Yes. It’s 10 years, so you have five colors, but then with this [gloss] it becomes 10.

Clever. How did you come up with that concept of layering them?

I love opposites. I love the idea that with one you can do two looks. And just the gloss with natural lips, I think is beautiful too. And the gloss you can use it even sometimes up on your eyes, and have that kind of natural look.

It’s almost like layering your clothes.

Yes, you can play with it, it’s like that top you can wear it over a pencil skirt or ball gown or you can wear it with a pair of jeans and flats on. It depends on your personality, how you are going to interpret it.

Was there any back and forth on the colors?

We started with a lot, but then little by little we went through them. All the girls in my studio were very helpful. I tested some on them, it was really nice. I love to see reactions from real women at the end, you know. It’s you who is going to wear it.

Giambattista Valli take a bow at Spring 2015 Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture in January. (Photo: Getty Images)

Is there one shade that you particularly gravitate towards?

I can’t say. It depends on the woman. If you gave me like a line of girls I could tell you which one will suit better than the other one!

Are the colors supposed to match your clothing? Some of your dresses are a very close match.

Yes, because they come from pieces of the fabrics. I went through all the reds, all the pinks, and all the tones that were used in the past and we put it all together.

Lately I’ve seen many actresses matching their lipstick to their dresses on the red carpet. Do you suggest doing that?

It depends on the attitude, it depends on if you’re big, if you’re short. I think the makeup is exactly proportional with dress. Everything can suit everybody, but it depends on the proportion.

Rihanna wore a Giambattista Valli gown to the Grammys this year. (Photo: Getty Images)

How do you work with the beauty teams to incorporate your fashion vision into the makeup look for a runway show or a campaign?

I make clothes but then when I do a fashion show for example, I need to visualize the actress that is going to wear my clothes. Is she passionate? Maybe she is in love and she is kissing, so probably she has bright lips. Or if she is more abstract, it’s just about the light and the face, for example. But I love this kind of effortless attitude at the end. It’s predominant in my vision of the woman.

For a woman wearing one of these bold shades on her lips, what do you think should be happening on the rest of her face?

Just beautiful skin, that’s it. A beautiful texture of the skin.

Are there any specific actresses or women you would love to see wearing these colors?
The biggest quantity as possible all over the world! [Laughs] That’s the successful thing. It’s not now me choosing them, it’s them choosing me. I wish the best for MAC and for me.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o wore Giambattisa Valli to the Golden Globes this year (Photo: Getty Images)

And for the evolution of your fashion brand, there are tons of trends happening. How do you stay current but still true to yourself in terms of designing?

Because I’m somebody that experiments with style and time. I experiment [while] being faithful to me and being faithful to the woman that I want to dress.


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