Valverde is inspired by the secret corners of religion and spirituality, creating not only garments, but an entire creative universe from which the brand’s collections are born. The label plays with many forms of artistic expression, including the written word, communicating through poetic language to convey old-world vibes in a new and exciting way. The complexities of Valverde are contrary to today’s minimalistic trends rooted in scandanavian simple design, however the product appears as modern as ever, captured in cutting edge imagery forging a unique identity for the label.
It seems your label is not just clothing, but an entire world you created. Which came first; The designs followed by the world to add context, or was the clothing inspired by the world that you first built in your imagination?
Definitely the world came first. I believe strongly in the idea that you can, through creation, give the invisible world of imagination a voice through which the abstract becomes manifest. I design my collections as the chapters of a one unique book. The characters may change and evolve but the feeling and the language somehow stays the same. It seems to me that fashion design really offers a platform to develop a whole world, a whole experience, that is beyond clothing.
You use poetic texts to describe much of your work. How important is the written word to your label and your most recent collection?
I have always loved literature and the power of the word as a meaningful symbol. Poetry really is about magic and vision. It unveils the true nature of things where you try to go deeper into what they are and what they stand for. It is about using elements to express one’s ideas, aspirations, aesthetics and feelings. It could be with words, fabrics, or anything else. In the end, it is all a matter of translation. I do write texts and poems that contribute to the overall inspiration. It allows people to dialogue with my world in a more intimate and sensitive way.
Many of your models really seem to be playing a character in the images you create. Do you explain your creative concept to them in advance to help fulfill your creative vision?
Everything comes usually very organically. I show them the mood board, the poems, the references and we discuss and listen to music. It seems to help everyone get in the mood.
In some of your older posts on Instagram, you use references to religion and witchcraft. Can you explain further about these fascinations?
It goes way back to my childhood. Even though I was not raised in a religious family, I have always been really drawn to mysticism. I love discovering what’s hidden. I’m a failed archeologist! I love the language of symbols and the cultic organizations. I’m fascinated by the idea of the sacred, and how people, throughout the ages manifested their beliefs, their higher aspirations or their lower fears. It is still the same dialogue between the visible and the invisible, the spiritual and the mundane and between the mental and the outside world.
What were your specific inspirations for your most recent collection?
I wanted to explore the wild soul and its limitations, to develop a poetic, complex and visceral connexion to the woods. The woods, in folkloric tales and superstitions, always represent this dark region of the human psychic landscape that keeps the primitive and hidden forces inside. It is a token of the world’s adversity and it becomes the scene of experience and a reflection on life.
To manifest these ideas, I used a strong tribal dragon print, intricate corsetry inspired by European folkloric costumes, traditional granny-coats, keltic inspired check patterned skirts, vine leaf jacquard velvet or a white denim dress embroidered with the verses of a poem I wrote.
Can you describe your label’s customer?
My customer knows what she is buying and why. She wants quality, meaning and a certain allure. She is not afraid to dare and she definitely likes to dress-up. I draw a lot of inspiration from them.
What does the future look like for Valverde?
As a response to the amazing messages I got from clients reaching me to place orders, I decided that it was time to launch our own e-com website, with perhaps a special launching party during Paris menswear fashion week next June. So I’m currently working on a new capsule collection for that purpose, with some iconic pieces from my previous collections and some exclusive new pieces. It is all very exciting!
What other brands do you see Valverde next to / What is your aspirational brand mix?
I don’t really like to compare. I try to follow my own path and to do what seems right for the brand. I like fashion’s eclecticism though and I truly respect the works of various different designers but I get more inspiration from the women around me, the women I love, from my clients or celebrities such as Beatrice Dalle, Patti Smith or Kate Bush to name a few.
interview ANNA McCORRISTON
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