If you haven't already heard the name Valentina Shah, chances are you will soon. She knows what she's doing, evidenced by the fact that her wares are in respectable doors like Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Harvey Nichols and fall 2013 is only her third collection.
She produces refined, quality, covetable items at a reasonable price point with a know-how and overall understanding of the fashion biz that is pretty rare for someone so seemingly new to the game.
That's because she's not actually that new to it at all--Shah, whose family is from Rome, Italy and rubbed elbows with the likes of Sophia Loren and Robert De Niro, spent more than a decade as an international business development executive with several global fashion companies before launching her own showroom in Milan, repping brands like Rag & Bone and A.L.C. in Italy.
Her selling skills were fully evident as she walked us through her latest collection last week. Had I been a buyer, I would have been eating out of the palm of her hand.
She's not all business, though--her creative side is just as fully developed. For fall in particular, Shah was inspired by iconic Russian ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, who once famously took part in a historic strike against the Bolshoi, where she was the prima ballerina. Ballet influences could be seen in fitted bodices paired with romantic, flowy skirts; fluttery ruffles and feminine lace details. But, there was also a functional badass-ness to much of the collection. The dresses, done in unfussy silhouettes, were the kind you can move around in and the pants--especially a pair of flattering leather leggings--were the kind you can wear every day. Leather accents provided a tough, rebellious edge and the color palette--red, purple, dark blue, black, and white--were appealing and on-trend.
Shah also told us her grandmother--a collector of beautiful designer clothes--and her personal archives are a constant source of inspiration and likely, along with a glamorous upbringing, contributed to her unique, sophisticated point of view.
Click through for the full collection.