Carmen Marc Valvo’s designs conjure thoughts of timeless glamor, elegance and sophistication. I have always admired the way his collection fits a woman’s body and how it makes her feel. As a stylist, the Port Chester native is one of my go-to designers for a special-occasion dress.
So I felt privileged to get a behind-the-scenes peek at his fall couture collection during New York’s Fashion Week. The lavish presentation highlighted the extraordinary craftsmanship and painstaking handiwork that place Carmen Marc Valvo Couture in a league of its own.
But Carmen is not only a master of his craft. He’s a humanitarian dedicated to the awareness of colon cancer through his support for the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. The launch of his new book, “Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing For Your Red Carpet Moments” (Rizzoli), followed the fashion show, and I got the chance to speak to him on an informal basis. All I can say is I don’t know what is more beautiful, the clothes or the man. Carmen’s charming personality made me feel like I was the only person in the room:
How do you get ready for Fashion Week?
“Even though I exercise regularly about a month before Fashion Week, I go on a serious exercise regime, often biking 40 miles a day. This helps me stay focused.”
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
“The best advice for aspiring fashion designers is to also have a sound understanding of math. Also, very important is to really concentrate in areas regarding art history and architecture as well. These are the building blocks to create fabulous designs.”
Where did you get your inspiration for the fall collection?
“My inspiration for fall 2011 came from the legendary ballerina (Anna) Pavlova. I wanted the collection to be light and airy with lots of movement.”
What are your major trends for fall?
“Transparency, lace, chiffon, and fabulous furs.”
You grew up in Westchester. What are your fondest memories of living in the county?
“I lived there until I was 19 and moved down to New York City. We lives in Port Chester and Rye. I loved the Westchester Country Club and Beach Club. My fondest memories were the times I spent at the Westchester Country Club. I sang a solo when I was 8 years old in the Big Little Show. Now in my spare time, I love to garden, meditate and do The New York Times crossword puzzles.”
You have a new book called “Dressed to Perfection.” What inspired you to write it?
“Over the course of my career, I spent many occasions meeting with my customers across the country. I was always very surprised to see how intimidating preparing for a special occasion could be for many. I wanted to write a book to empower women and to assist them in making better choices for their red-carpet moments, whether it’s a wedding, bar mitzvah or a divorce party.”