MILAN - Giambattista Valli, the haute couture star known for dressing some of the world's most glamorous women, on Friday unveiled a new, more affordable line of sexy, "playful" womenswear for next spring and summer.
The new collection, called "Giamba", is aimed at women in their 20s and early 30s will be priced at 30-40 per cent below Valli's ready-to-wear collection, a red carpet regular favoured by the likes of Penelope Cruz, Natalie Portman and Halle Berry.
"This is the other side of my personality. Giamba is my nickname, the one that is used by my very close friends. So this is the other side of the coin, my playful side."
Valli, who made the much commented-upon pink robe that Jessica Biel wore for her 2012 wedding to Justin Timberlake, has produced a 250-piece collection that is heavily dominated by very short mini skirts and dresses and the kind of shorts that few women other than catwalk models would attempt to get away with.
But Valli insists the new range has something for everyone.
"What is beauty right now?" he said backstage after Giamba's debut show in a Milan palazzo. "I love much more spontaneity and being balanced with yourself and your femininity.
"Even if you have big legs or short legs, if you feel good, just do it. This is the freedom." Valli says the woman he had in mind when he put together the collection could be just married or about to have children.
"Of course she has more formal, luxury wear for special occasions. This is for when she wants somthing more pretty, less precious." The collection also contains a series of dizzyingly high platform shoes that were at odds with the trend towards flats seen in New York and London and, to a lesser extent, here.
"I love to be out of trends - in fact if there was one word I could cancel that would be it, trends," Valli added.
As with his ready-to-wear collection, Giamba will be marketed through high-end retailers but the Rome-born designer, who owns all of his businesses outright, has not ruled out establishing his own network of shops should the new line take off.
"We will see. At the moment it is just born and now it has to grow. But the reaction so far has been ... - everybody has really loved it.
"But I didn't really do it for business reasons. Every time I do a new project it comes from my own impulse. I hate to be sitting still."