Carmen Marc Valvo

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Carmen Marc Valvo is an American fashion designer who specializes in evening-wear and high-end cocktail dresses.


[1] Carmen grew up in Westchester County, New York. His father was an anesthesiologist and mother was a nurse. In the Valvo home, traditional children’s story and coloring books were supplemented with educational and anatomy related volumes in hopes their son would follow in the family footsteps. This is where Carmen first developed the formative knowledge of the female figure that would later help him to become such a successful and intuitive designer. His artistic spirit revealed itself early on through his passion for oil painting and portraiture as well as fashion illustration. Before heading to Vienna where he hoped to pursue his artistic dreams, Carmen first attended the Fine Arts program at Manhattanville College. While traveling throughout Europe and exploring the rich cultural tapestry of centuries-old historic cities and quaint countryside, and becoming proficient in several languages, fate intervened - Carmen was injured in a car accident and returned to the States to recover. He then enrolled in Parsons School of Design.

Early Career[edit]

Upon leaving Parsons School of Design, Carmen’s first position was with Bill Atkinson in mid-1970. However, Carmen’s real professional career began with an offer to work in Paris with the house of Nina Ricci. This was followed by a position with Christian Dior in the same city. Dior is where he established his true sense of the couture aesthetic, which so embodies all of his works to date.

Launching His Label[edit]

By 1989 he was ready to launch his own label. With only a few thousand dollars, he fearlessly pulled together a collection to show to department and specialty stores at the fall fashion market in New York. His collection was an instant success and was bought by several top stores. But it was his eveningwear, his true passion, which captured the hearts of buyers at both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

Having established a solid reputation as one of 7th Avenue’s most noteworthy independent brands with his Black Label Collection, Carmen launched Carmen Marc Valvo Couture in 1998. After years of working in the Parisian ateliers, Carmen was finally able to truly utilize his skill and experience to create his celebrity clientele the original Carmen Marc Valvo creations that they so desired. Twice each year during New York Fashion Week, Carmen’s Couture collection is presented showcasing his extraordinary craftsmanship.

Since then he has been exploring his soul's desire to bring glamorous dressing to every woman's life through his eponymous Collection, whose enchanting designs have become synonymous with grace and refinement. Today his elegant eveningwear collection is a fixture at fine department stores throughout the world. Carmen’s label also appears on his highly sought-after clothing and accessory lines – including swimwear, eyewear, footwear and fur, which reflect the designer’s artistic sensibility.

“While other designers seek to shock, Valvo’s creations shine in the marketplace.” -TIME magazine

Dressed To Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moments[edit]

In 2011, Carmen brought his talents from the design studio to the printed page with the publication of his book, Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moments (Rizzoli). This book captures Carmen’s unique perspective on design and silhouettes, offering expert insights and advice for dressing for all seasons and body types, for women everywhere who want to look their best. The designer also shares his personal sources of inspiration, from the idyllic private hideaway that refreshes his creative energies, to the women who inspire his creations.

“Over the years, the designer has demonstrated the talent to do it all.” -Women’s Wear Daily


Most recently, Carmen joined forces with H.H. Brown Shoe Company to create the exclusive Carmen Marc Valvo Calzature collection produced in Italy as well as the Carmen Marc Valvo collection: the designer's first-ever foray into footwear of this magnitude. Today, the Carmen Marc Valvo lifestyle brand is made up of several collections. Through special licensing partnerships, each top-tier company contributes a unique component that embodies the integrity and vision of Carmen Marc Valvo.

  • Swimwear - Swimwear Anywhere since 2005
  • Eyewear and Sunglasses - Signature Eyewear since 2007
  • Fur - BC International Group since 2010
  • Knitwear – Republic Clothing Group since 2011
  • Shoes – H.H. Brown Shoe Company since 2012

Each one of Carmen’s elegant designs combines classic artistry and refinement in striking silhouettes designed to enhance and complement the inherent beauty of the female form. His unique ability to highlight a woman’s best features through the flawless execution of color and fabric has made him a favorite of celebrities seeking an unforgettable special event look. Over the past 24 years, Carmen’s stunning cocktail dresses and breathtaking couture gowns have graced some of the world’s most glamorous and talented women.


Press & recognition[edit]

Valvo’s designs have graced many notable and glamorous women such as HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Queen Latifah, Beyoncé Knowles, Katie Couric, Leona Lewis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vanessa Williams, Kate Winslet, Eva Longoria, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few. His designs were also featured in Confessions of a Shopaholic movie.

Valvo’s designs are regularly stocked at Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, and other specialty stores nationally and internationally.[3]



Valvo is involved with many charitable organizations, but has given most of his time to promoting awareness and encouraging the discussion of colorectal cancer, as he is a survivor himself.[4] Carmen is an Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) Ambassador and has given both his time and money to the organization, which has helped raise millions of dollars for colorectal cancer research. One of Carmen's favorite organizations to which he has shown generosity is the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA). Valvo has partnered with Katie Couric since their meeting at 7th on Sixth (New York Fashion Week, now called Merecedes-Benz Fashion Week) in 2004 to bring attention to, and support research for, the deadly disease. His efforts on behalf of the organization were honored at a gala in March 2006 in New York where Carmen received the first ever Advocate Award from Couric. Valvo and his long-time friend Vanessa Williams also recently appeared in a national print and broadcast campaign to bring awareness to the importance of early screening.

Colorectal cancer[edit]

The American Cancer Society’s estimates that there will be approximately 50,000 deaths from colorectal cancer in 2009. Discounting skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in the United States.[5] Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States with 150,000 Americans expected to be diagnosed this year. It is also one of the only cancer types that is often preventable through screening. Men and women should start to be screened yearly at age 50, and for those with a family history of the disease, screenings should begin earlier.[6]

Friends in Deed: Valvo and Katie Couric[edit]

For the Spring/Summer 2005 fashion week in New York City, Valvo joined with Katie Couric, the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA), the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Olympus, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Anna Wintour, Fern Mallis, Iman, Nia Vardalos and Patrick McMullan for the "Be Seen, Be Screened" campaign. At Bryant Park, Valvo revealed his personal struggle with colorectal cancer and joined the NCCRA as an ambassador in their initiative to raise awareness of this curable, but deadly, form of cancer.[7]

Vanessa Williams and Carmen Marc Valvo’s Colorectal Cancer PSA in March 2008[edit]

In March 2008, longtime friends Award-winning singer and actress Vanessa Williams and Valvo appeared in a public service campaign about the importance of early screening for colorectal cancer. The PSA highlighted that colorectal cancer is an entirely preventable and curable cancer through screening. It also suggested working with a team of doctors and specialists—an oncologist, surgeon and gastroenterologist—in partnership with a primary care physician, to decide the best treatment path.[6] The campaign included both print and broadcast announcements and was created by EIF’s NCCRA and sanofi-aventis. The print PSA appeared in fashion and lifestyle magazines while the videos were aired in March during National|Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.[6]

Valvo becomes Board Member of the Colon Cancer Alliance[edit]

Carmen partnered with the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2011 to promote Dress in Blue Day, a colorectal cancer awareness day held the first Friday of every March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Carmen is committed to raising awareness of Colon Cancer and, ultimately, devoted to eradicating the disease entirely.[8]

Personal struggle with colorectal cancer[edit]

"Unbeknownst to me, two close relatives had already struggled with this condition - but we simply never talked about that kind of thing in our family. So when I began to question relatives, and it came out that I was not the first, not even the second - I had to wonder why we never talked about it."[9] Valvo said of the "Be Seen, Be Screened" event, it "was a wonderful way to begin a dialogue that is very important to me. Before I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer I was totally unaware of my own family history relating to the disease. With no family history on record, I was not eligible for prescreening by insurance and would have normally had to wait until the age of 50 for my first colorectal cancer screening. Had I waited my prognoses would have been much, much different."[3]

The Red Dress Collection[edit]

The Red Dress Collection has shown at New York Fashion Week yearly since its inception in 2003 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Each of the twenty-five red dresses is designed by a different designer and worn by a different celebrated and glamorous woman—from Former First Lady Laura Bush to Christie Brinkley—and helps to promote their national campaign The Heart Truth, established in 2001. The campaign was created to increase women's awareness of heart disease. The symbolic red dress- the color of strength and vitality- has become the national emblem of the campaign. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.[10]


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