On those special moments in your life, you remember the music that was playing and you remember what you were wearing. This was a thought fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo shared with me during his visit to Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue when he reflected fondly of his most cherished moment of being a designer.

Carmen Marc Valvo is known for his classic pieces that transcend seasons and trends. I can attest to this since I am the proud owner of a black beaded Carmen Marc Valvo cocktail dress. It remains one of my favorite ensembles and has become a part of many pivotal memories.

For decades, Carmen Marc Valvo has become a part of those memorable moments of our lives. Princess Madeline of Sweeden has worn Carmen Marc Valvo for several royal weddings. Actress Viola Davis wore Carmen Marc Valvo during her iconic Emmy win. However, it’s not just the A-List and royalty parading about in his designs. A Neiman Marcus associate shared with me how Carmen was the only designer who catered to a plus-size bride. After being in tears after trying on several wedding dresses that didn’t fit, it was a Carmen Marc Valvo gown that would become a part of her big day.

It’s just something about a well-fitting dress that makes you feel as if you can change the world. I’m sure Princess of Madeline felt incredibly regal in her gown, Viola Davis made history in hers, and the bride will remember her Carmen Marc Valvo for a lifetime.

For Carmen, the journey towards making memorable gowns and ensembles for women began when he ripped out the lining of a Burberry trench coat and dye it green.  Later he would go on to make embroidered and tie dye jeans. He was inspired by the bell-bottoms and whimsical attire of Sonny and Cher. This is a departure from the Carmen Marc Valvo that we know today who is known to create classic and elegant pieces for the Hollywood A-List to royalty.


However, many would be surprised to know that the designer that we know today wasn’t always on the fast track to making stunning red carpet creations and to die for evening gowns. His father who was a doctor believed that Carmen’s gifted hands should go towards becoming a surgeon. Little did he know, that Carmen’s needle and thread, would go towards a much glamorous purpose. I guess we can thank a last-minute acceptance into the prestigious Parson’s School of Design for getting Carmen on the right track.

After Parson’s, Carmen entered the demanding world of fashion which he described as a demanding lover. He shared “If you aren’t in love with her it’s not going to work” Carmen took his love affair with fashion and graced the world with beautiful iconic pieces. Many of them which are timeless and classic and have easily become staples in many wardrobes.

Many come to Carmen for his bold use of color and quality fabric. When shopping around his designs are easy to distinguish. In fact, I know when I see beading coupled with delicate embroidery I am looking at the elegant evening wear of Carmen Marc Valvo.

While Carmen would describe himself as a classicist, he keeps his designs fresh and creative by always trying something new. By changing it up from season to season, Carmen has been able to give his loyal fans a large repertoire of varied designs.

While the fashion industry has seen many shifts and changes since Carmen began, Carmen is confident that the Carmen Marc Valvo woman will not abandon him in a world of fast fashion and trendy designs. Instead, she’s going to stay loyal and introduce the brand to her family and children. This explains why a Carmen Marc Valvo piece whether you find it from 20 years ago or last year can transcend time.


It’s been quite the ride and Carmen has shown no signs of slowing down. While many designers have come and gone through the revolving door of a demanding industry, Carmen Marc Valvo has nothing to worry about. With the rise of social media and a slew of knock-off designs, Carmen remains committed to providing quality and beautiful designs to his audience.

At the end of the day, Carmen just wants his legacy as a designer to be “someone who cared about how a woman felt and looked” He believes that everyone wants to have that special red carpet moment even if they aren’t a celebrity or a princess. However, when slipping into one of his creations, it’s impossible to not feel like you are a celebrity or royalty.

I’m thankful that Carmen is still in love with the demanding lover that is fashion and I look forward to many more years of beautiful designs.