STYLE

Carmen Marc Valvo marks his 25th anniversary in fashion with festive menswear, '50s gowns

09/06/2014 08:16 EDT | Updated 11/06/2014 05:59 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Carmen Marc Valvo has a stable of celebrities who wear his red carpet gowns, so he decided to mark his 25th anniversary in fashion with — what else? — his first menswear.

And it's not just any menswear.

Valvo went festive with swirls of sea blues on tight pants, teeny swim trunks and sheer shirts adorned with prints of large red flowers.

"I wanted something to just really rejuvenate my spirit," he said backstage Friday before his Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show at the Lincoln Center tents.

"People have always said why don't you do menswear? I've always said no, no. I do my own shirts. I'll do my own pants, so I finally figured why not, maybe it's time. I think we need more options for our festive attire. Let's step out with a little bit of a pattern, a little colour and an interesting cut."

He put mesh insets on white cotton shirts for the guys. One tuxedo jacket had a metallic shimmer and another was Jacquard.

But he didn't, and never will, forget the ladies of the red carpet, or those with a full schedule of charity lunches.

A silver cocktail dress with a wide black belt included large beaded flower applique on mesh that was covered just before it's too late at the pantyline. He used sporty, wider mesh elsewhere as trim and gazaar in ivory and black.

Valvo's followers include Beyonce, Katie Couric, Catherine Zeta-Jones and numerous others. Among his first way back when was Pauletta Washington, who has been married to Denzel Washington for 30 years.

"He designed a dress for me before my husband was at the place of status that he is right now," she recalled after visiting with Valvo backstage.

"It was for one of the awards shows and rather than give me something that was on the rack, he took a look at me and from his heart he designed a beautiful gown for me," Washington said. "All of my Oscar gowns have been Carmen. I have them all lined up."

She commended Valvo for embracing curvy women like herself.

"He makes them look so feminine so you're not thinking of size. You're thinking of beauty."

Valvo said he didn't want his silver anniversary collection to be a retrospective, but it is retro. The silhouettes harken back to the 1950s with full organza skirts and his heavy hand with silk gazaar.

"It pays homage to the American dream. It was my dream to have my own label and I can't believe it's been 25 years," he said. "With each collection you learn more. The more you do it, the more confident you become."

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Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie

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