Somewhere it was written that Alvin Valley took 6 months to perfect the fit of the pants he produced when he started his business and suddenly it made all the sense in the world to me as to why he earned the moniker … “the king of pants.” Mr. Valley has been off the fashion radar for a while but he is once again seismically registering on the radar screens of those who wear, wore and swore by these pants.
As if I wasn’t totally convinced enough about Mr. Valley’s prowess, I asked a devotee, a 21st century style icon, as well as a business colleague …. “I had heard much about the genius of Alvin’s pants (most of which seemed a bit inflated with descriptions such as “life changing”) until I tried on my first pair and became an immediate aficionado…I swear you zip in two inches taller and one inch slimmer!” …. Nicole Hanley Mellon
This week marks his official return to “the radar screen” of fashion with the relaunch of his website. Please note that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated and hence we see “the King” has a new kingdom predominantly populated by what catapulted him to fame in the first place … I speak of pants, impeccable tailoring and now “uber” fab dresses mixed with softer silhouettes.
From the “horse’s mouth”… “I love the idea of a building a wardrobe with my clients, with the foundation being the perfect pant. The idea is that we are establishing certain signatures and updating them. A change in color or fabric is enough.”
It is gratifying for me to spotlight a designer who is sage beyond his years and actually has the desire to clothe real women and not some oddly fantasized concept of what women look like and what he thinks they like to wear. In other words this is Alvin Valley, who wants his ladies to look fashionable and to have a wardrobe that befits their lifestyles. Once again I am proud to present one of a small cast of characters who inhabit the world made up of designers who design!!
Q. What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
A. A leather jacket from Tom Ford’s last collection at YSL.
Q. What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
A. I don’t know if it’s a sterling trait, but I do feel I am someone with lots of gumption, and I stick to my convictions. I treasure in my friendships their support and solidarity, whatever I’m going through. Either successful or not.
Q. What is your bliss?
A. My dogs, Lana and Nina.
Q. What is your guilty secret?
A. Getting inspired by my friends without them knowing it. These women with amazing personal style, strength, independence, and above all, power while fusing that into my designs. Some of these women include Rena Sindi, Vanessa Getty, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Nicole Mellon, Alexandra Lind Rose, Fernanda Niven, Eva Lorenzotti, Kick Kennedy, Minnie Mortimer, and Olivia Chantecaille
Q. Where is your ideal home?
A. A modern, sustainable cottage by the pond in North Haven, Sag Harbor, designed by Peter Sabbeth.
Q. If you could not be a designer what would you be?
A. A landscape architect in the East End of Long Island.
Q. What is on your bedside table right now?
A. A pair of scull paintings by Nathan Bond.
Q. What do you wear to bed?
A. Night guards.
Q. What if any, book are you reading now or last read?
A. The Breakthrough Experience by John F Martini. It was recommended to me by a great friend who lives in Paris. I bought 10 copies and gave them to my friends.
Q. What’s your advice to the “newcomer”?
A. Don’t think that you are more important than your clients.
Q. Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
A. Dorian Gray.
Q. What is the best advice you ever received?
A. Don’t believe the hype!
Q. In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
A. Polished. Structured. Sophisticated.
Q. If you were a retailer, would you wear your own designs or shop in your own store…or where would you shop?
A. I would absolutely wear my own designs…but they look better on women.
Q. If you won a $200,000,000 power ball (lottery), what is the first thing you would buy or do?
A. The first thing I would do is call my lawyer.
Q. If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
A. I would want a table full of strong personalities, and interesting conversation. Marchesa Casati, she fitted the utmost female example by saying: “I want to be a living work of art”. Maria Callas, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist. Maria Felix, La Doña, who always represented women as power figures. And finally, Robert Redford, for his all-American looks and ease.
Q. What is your favorite movie/or movie star?
A. Bette Davis in All About Eve. As a child, watching this movie inspired me to believe that women could be the bread winners in their homes, and that they could ultimately decide how to live their lives, independent of any man. The ultimate question, “Can women have it all?”
Q. What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
A. My height, everything else I’ve changed.
Q. Whose opinion do you value most and why?
A. My Board of Directors. They are smart, successful and support my vision.
Q. What store or which designer do you most like to shop in or wear?
A. I only shop online. Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi.
Q. What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
A. Tablet only.
Q. Do you have a dream collaborator?
A. Andy Warhol.
Q. What is your crowning achievement thus far in your career?
A. Buying my brand back and building an incredible team.
Q. What’s your music library like?
A. Eclectic 80’s.
Q. What and where is your favorite meal?
A. Chicken for Two at Omar’s Private Dining Room in New York City. Omar has created an amazing, intimate experience.