Fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo, pictured with Vanessa Williams, has dressed some of Hollywood’s finest. Valvo’s evening wear and cocktail dresses have been worn by many notable celebs, including our favorite entertainers; Mary J. Blige, Angela Basset, Beyonce and Queen Latifah.
In addition to being a talented designer, Valvo is also passionate about philanthropy. He has just released his new book, “Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moment,” a how-to guide to help women make the most of their shape and look their best during “red carpet” moments. Proceeds from the book will be donated to raise awareness of and support colon cancer research.
The designer recently spoke to ESSENCE about his favorite fashion tips and philanthropic endeavors, sharing his thoughts about why it’s important to give back to causes that matter most.
ESSENCE.com: What is it about your designs that attract powerful women like Angela Basset, Star Jones and Beyonce?
CARMEN MARC VALVO: My designs normally tend to attract powerful, beautiful, sexy women that exude confidence and poise. When I’m creating, I love to combine classy with a bit of urban edge. That’s why I think celebrities such as like Angela Bassett, Beyonce, and Vanessa Williams consistently come back to my designs.
ESSENCE.com: In your new book you show real women how to translate the glam of the red carpet into the real world. What’s the best way to do this?
VALVO: Translating the glamour of the Hollywood red carpet into a real woman’s red carpet moment is to have any pre-conceived notions of what will and will not work. I think a woman should leave herself open to the possibilities and try on a multitude of designs before settling on her look for her special event.
ESSENCE.com: What are some common style missteps you see women make?
VALVO: The most common style mistake when it comes to evening attire is over accessorizing.
ESSENCE.com: What’s a motto we can use to guide us through those red carpet moments?
VALVO: Less is more!
ESSENCE.com: As a designer how did your bout with colon cancer impact how you approach fashion? Did it become less important?
VALVO: Actually, my bout with colon cancer made me realize how precious life is and that it is important for us all to strive to make every day a red carpet moment.
ESSENCE.com: Was that experience a key factor in what motivated you to launch this book?
VALVO: This book concept has been in the works for about a decade. As with any project, timing is everything for its success. As I was recovering I thought, ‘If this book ever becomes a reality I would want the proceeds to go to colon cancer research.’ I am very proud of the end result.
ESSENCE.com: What do you hope to accomplish through your work with the drug Dulcolax?
VALVO: When Rizzoli decided to push the timing from a holiday book launch up nine months to coincide with Colon Cancer Awareness Month, we all realized what a powerful tool we had in our possession. At that point, we started reaching out to our partners at the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Colon Cancer Alliance and the makers of Dulcolax and Blue Cross Blue Shield. We all share and stand for the same goals, and with their partnership, this book and its message becomes more powerful.