I'm not gonna lie - my propensity for the motherland definitely kicked in when I browsed over the program for Carmen Marc Valvo's Fall 2014 collection and saw "the opulence of the Ottoman Empire" cited as the designer's influence. After a recent trip to Turkey, Valvo declares that "warrior women" are "ready for battle, ready for love" (why yes, I am, thanks for noticing). It wouldn't be a stretch to assume that this already skewed my objectivity before even seeing any of the looks, but what I saw once the show started really blew my mind.
Carmen Marc Valvo reigns when it come to red carpet creations but has always leaned more toward the demure, slightly conservative end of the fashion spectrum; a well-mannered lady of privilege would no doubt cite the label as one of her go-to's when in need of a stunning yet proper dress. With a much more daring and youthful approach, the Fall 2014 collection presents a fresh contrast to its predecessors.
This collection is strong, both literally and figuratively. Mosaic-like bodices, metalwork breastplates, chain-mail embellishments, and crystal beading come together in a fierce menagerie that will appeal to the younger, edgier fashion set. Even the leather-wrapped ponytails and fringe bangs conjure images of horses on which these women would ride into battle. Yet the daring decollates and revealing layers of lace are so well-balanced with Valvo's clean lines and rich colors that they're not likely to alienate, but challenge (in a good way) his loyal clientele.