Designer Carmen Marc Valvo is known for creating dresses that flatter every figure at any age. Just ask mega-stars Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift and Queen Latifah, who have all worn his glorious gowns. Valvo will bring his full Fall 2014 runway show to the Old Bags Luncheon [PDF] for The Shelter for Abused Women & Children April 8 (for more details, click here).
In advance of his visit, which will also include a trunk show and appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples, the designer spoke with Naples Illustrated about personal style, a common fashion mistake and what you’ll always find packed in his suitcase.
NI: What’s the one piece that should be in every woman’s closet?
CMV: A little black cocktail dress in either double-faced wool, or cotton, if wool is too heavy. It’s seasonless, it’s timeless, it travels well—it’s your best friend. I love double-face because whatever size you are, the double-face has stretch. If you gain a few pounds or lose a few pounds (and we all do) that dress is still going to be flattering and so forgiving.
How can women balance runway trends with dressing for real life?
You can incorporate the trends without wearing them head-to-toe. Don’t be a slave to fashion. Incorporate trendy pieces into your wardrobe, but you don’t have to embrace it as a huge statement. Pick the ones that speak to you most.
What fashion mistake do you wish women would stop making?
One of the biggest mistakes is wearing too many accessories. For day, throw on the scarf, layer on the bangles. But when you’re wearing a cocktail dress or an evening gown, be selective. Choose one great piece. I want to see the woman. I want to see her inner and outer beauty. I don’t want clutter.
You’ve been successful in many areas of fashion and recently started designing shoes. Are there areas you haven’t explored, but want to?
Menswear! It’s an entirely different business, but maybe something strategic, like evening wear. I can never find a tuxedo shirt that I like and I’m not really a bow-tie guy. Black-tie should be fun! It doesn’t always have to be black, either. You don’t want to look like the proverbial penguin.
What’s the one item that always makes it into your suitcase?
Flip-flops … always! I can travel with one pair of shoes, but I always have two pairs of flip-flops. Spoken like a true Floridian. I actually hate shoes, but I love designing them for women.