For Spring 2013, Carmen Marc Valvo looked eastwardly towards Asia for inspiration, more specifically Japan. “Samurai warriors with breast plates of metallic lace boast both strength and femininity. Shields of crystal stingray protect the extremities. Kimonos, haiku, and hakama provide inspiration for spring soirees…” The collection’s liner notes prefaced a deliberate commingling of disparate influences as a modern interpretation of female empowerment.
The designer not only played the stark contrast of black and white against one another—his collection was predominantly neutral with hints of cobalt, red, and poppy—he also referenced antique embroideries while using vintage couture textiles. Fewer than one third of the presentation’s 32 looks included pants and when featured, they were the wide-leg palazzo variety, which read more like luxurious, free-flowing, floor-grazing skirts from atop the Fashion Avenue showroom. Kimono wrap blouses, origami folds, as well as obi-style sashes and belts also enhanced this sophisticated silhouette.
Mr. Valvo is widely known for his red carpet gowns and cocktail frocks, but for Spring 2013, he expanded upon his arsenal of exquisite eveningwear to include blouses, suiting, day dresses, and swimwear this season. Graphic collections often tend to feel more structured, even stiff, but these looks embodied a fluid femininity and ease. With ivory, parchment, and black dominating the color story, unique design details such as lace insets, molded corsets, sequined lace, and chain-stitched embroidery were all the more noticeable and better appreciated.
The award-winning designer has been busier than ever, between debuting a capsule collection for HSN, rebooting his website, and a guest appearance on Project Runway All Stars, you might think he’d already have his designing hands quite full, but Spring 2013 also marks the brand’s entre into accessories with the launch of his new shoe collection. Despite the designer’s incredibly frenetic schedule, he also makes time for charitable causes, mainly the Oklahoma Project Woman (OPW), which helps low-income women pay for breast health care. Carmen Marc Valvo has enjoyed a partnership with the organization, participating in their annual Fashion a Cure fundraiser since 2002 and raising $3.5
My favorite looks from the Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear Collection included the: ivory silk corset atop the black linen pant with chain embroidery; the parchment lace draped front top with lace glass sequined beaded tank, and silk crepe pant; the parchment and poppy lace and gazar gown; the pewter antique kimono pattern beaded lace dress with ruffle detail; the poppy silk gazar dress; the black silk gazar peplum waist top with kimono pattern beaded lace inset and black silk gazar wrap front skirt; and the black silk organza hanbok blouse and gown with origami fold detail.
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