the designers

Carmen Marc Valvo was born in the United States around 1960. Valvo's father, a doctor, wanted him to use his artistic talent to become a plastic surgeon, but after working in an emergency room one summer, Valvo decided the medical field wasn't for him.

Instead he studied Fine Arts and took a degree from Manhattanville College in New York.

He spent the next three years traveling through Europe soaking up culture and languages. When he returned in 1985, he studied fashion at the Parsons School of Design.

Valvo started his fashion career by working in design positions with the house of Nina Ricci in Italy and Christian Dior in Paris.

He began designing under his own name in 1989. Here is a selection of his dresses shown at Harvey Nichols, the store in London, in 1990.

The Look

Designer Carmen Marc Valvo is known for unique and unusual detailing and describes his design philosophy as "eveningwear that is modern and sensitive to comfort." Part of the reason for his success is the unique and unusual details that give each design "something special." Carmen Marc, an inveterate traveler, roams the far corners of the world at every opportunity, filling his bags with artifacts of lost or vanished arts and objects that fire his imagination. He collects pottery for its color and embossed design, ancient textiles of extinct African tribes, beaux arts jewelry, finely embroidered household linens and swatches or whole garments of lace or beading. A pottery fragment may inspire a grouping of graphically embroidered career suits or the design of a button. A beaded dress of the '20's could be the "muse" for a series of sultry beaded cocktail looks.

Who Wears It

Angela Bassett, Claire Danes, Queen Latifah, Radha Mitchell, Emmy Rossum, Katie Kouric, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lucy Liu, Vanessa Williams and Goldie Hawn, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet, Mary J. Blige, Iman, Beyonce Knowles, Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Preston, Annabella Sciorra, Jessica Lange, Sheryl Crow, Pauletta Washington, Eve, Cynthia Nixon, Julia Ormond, Maria Menounos, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Marcia Gay Harden, Lucy Liu, Kim Cattrel

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