NEW YORK — Most designers are inspired by a color, a feeling or a recent vacation that sparks their creativity. For Carmen Marc Valvo, this fall is all about shoes.
The longtime designer, a Houston favorite, built his new collection around a new line of footwear, Carmen Marc Valvo Calzature, that will arrive in stores in September.
Because he designed the shoes first, "this collection is backwards a little bit," Valvo confessed to a select audience at the American Express Skybox at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week after his runway show ended. "With shoes, you have to work six months in advance of even the clothing, so we wanted to base it in black. With the girls, you never know what shoe size they are, if you base it in black, you don't have to worry about it."
"I wanted it to be rich. It started out with Oscar Wilde and then it morphed into Mozart, Edgar Allan Poe and a little bit of rock and roll."
He created a moody collection that gives a nod to baroque and punk themes. "I wanted it to be rich. It started out with Oscar Wilde and then it morphed into Mozart, Edgar Allan Poe and a little bit of rock and roll," he said.
Indeed, the sensual collection includes leather skirts in a baroque pattern, gowns with alligator insets and cocktail dresses of patent leather square tile embroidery. As promised the collection is mostly black, with touches of dark purple and burgundy, and one red baroque embroidered gown as an exclamation point.
The runway show featured three shoe styles from Valvo's collection: Beth, a feminine bootie accented with mesh; Elsie, a patent leather Mary Jane with double strap and pointed closure; and Mara, a pointed toe pump with a double wrap ankle strap.
Valvo, who was at the AmEx Skybox with 666 Park Avenue actress Helena Mattsson, told the audience he has been interested in fashion since age 7, but his father, a doctor, and mother, a nurse, wanted him to become a plastic surgery. In a way, he fulfilled their dream.
"I use a needle and thread," he said, "but I do it in a less invasive manner."