Monday, October 24, 2011

Dressed to Perfection with Carmen Marc Valvo

Renowned American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo is the top-selling evening-wear designer at Neiman Marcus. His lines include everything from eyewear to lingerie, Victoria’s Secret swimwear and home d├ęcor. His dresses have been worn by starlets such as Beyonce Knowles, Kate Winslet, Lucy Liu and Catherine Zeta-Jones on the red carpet.  He can now add best-selling author to his list of accomplishments, having published Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moments earlier this year.

Cynthia Smoot, Carmen Marc Valvo and LeeAnne Locken

He brought his charisma and incredible frocks to town this past Thursday for an intimate chat and informal modeling of his Fall 2011 Collection for a fundraiser for Arlington Hall at Lee Park. The Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy is a non-profit organization whose mission is the continued preservation and enhancement of Arlington Hall and the Lee Park grounds on both sides of Turtle Creek. The Conservancy is dedicated to bringing a "restored sense of community" to this timeless treasure.

Anytime you are going to a style show to meet a fashion designer, you know the women attending are going to turn it outLee Anne Locken showed up in a killer pair of black, faux fur Christian Louboutin boots.  Thanks to a fabulous find at new West Village boutique Demerara, I rocked the house in the beaded number you see pictured above by boyod.  There was a whole lotta bling going on in Arlington Hall! I'm surprised we didn't blind the poor man when he was up on stage and gazed into the audience!

John Williams, President and CEO for Lee Park Conservancy, kicked off the evening by introducing Valvo's literary agent, Dedie Leahy, who conducted a James Lipton-style chat with Valvo and had him regaling the rapt audience with red-carpet tales and tips and tricks for dressing to perfection.  Local style-setters Capera Ryan, Jim Duran, Gregg Asher, Holly Haber (the former WWD Dallas editor who wrote the Intro for Valvo's book book) Myra Walker, Sandra Starr and Lauren Lepeyre ooh'd and aah'd over Valvo's magnificent designs.

Valvo spoke of the love he had for his garden and how it was such a source of inspiration for him. You could definitely tell that to be the case in the fluidity and movement of his designs, the color palette he uses and the florets that grace many of his dresses.  He said the garden was also a great source of strength for him, as he fought through his recent battle with color cancer and about how he drew power from the plants who produced such beauty under great adversity.   As a survivor of colon cancer Valvo is taking a stand against the disease and proceeds from this book are being donated to colon cancer research. He has teamed up with the makers of Dulcolax and the Colon Cancer Alliance to fight the fears of the colonoscopy that saved his life. 

Terri Anderson had just won a Carmen Marc Valvo gown, accessories by Neiman Marcus and two tickets to Carmen's Fashion Week show in NYC at the recent Cattle Baron's Ball.  She proclaimed herself one of Valvo's "biggest fans" and this lucky lady ended up with a basket of Susan Posnick cosmetics. Talk about good karma!

The other raffle prize was supposed to be 'The Perfect Little Black Dress' created by Carmen Marc Valvo.  When Valvo pulled the number out of the glass bowl, he couldn't decide if it was a 6 or a 9, so he said, "What the heck, let's just give away TWO dresses".  Kristi McIntosh and Victoria Bradshaw both squealed with delight and we were all happy it didn't take a cat fight to decide a victor!