Deborah Valeni’s stellar fashion career, style inspiration and guilty pleasure


Deborah Valeni’s stellar fashion career, style inspiration and guilty pleasure

From an early age I remember that I was always interested in style.

As a kid, I used to love Daisy more than Barbie. The highlights of Daisy’s hair were much better than Barbie’s, which had an all-over color. I remember Daisy is definitely better than Barbie.

I grew up in Avoca, Company Wicklow, and our mom sent us to Newark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, Company Dublin.

It was really great to find a student who was good at a creative school. My father was an architect so it was a creative home. We were encouraged to accept that side of things.

I went to live in Paris for a year when I finished school and in terms of fashion, I think it really did it for me.

I went there on a wing and prayer and I did some weird jobs, but I just soaked everything up and met interesting people. Even if I didn’t have to come home and go to college, I would still be there. It was a big influence on me.

I really believed I could make a career in fashion and I don’t know why I did it because there was nothing there to show me that I could do.

What was the structure and foundation for me to understand the business is that I ended up working for some of the factories that supply high street here like Dunes stores and A-Ware supplies અને and that was a real shock. You were working towards the sales sheet, the factory was up to you to sell the styling. It was a tough learning curve but it really stayed with me.

My label has two sides: a corporate site and my own brand.

Initially, we were asked to design a corporate uniform for the Marion Hotel and thus I ended up with two sides of the business: DV professional uniforms and Deborah Vale.

Black suit from Deborah's AW19 collection
Black suit from Deborah’s AW19 collection

I am blessed to be working in the creative industry. Yes, it is a job but you are doing what you do.

If you look at most brands there will always be the bread and butter part of the trade, and one does not exist without the other. For some brands it may be a bag, and we’ve seen it in corporate wear. My aesthetic is about tailoring and it lends itself very well to corporate workwear. We don’t just sell uniforms, we sell a look. We listen to what customers want and develop a look with them. But when it comes to my table, it’s entirely my own. It’s based on my own aesthetic.

During the covid there was not even a minute where we were not pointing.

We had to make masks for our customers and we developed really good ones. We were able to keep our studio open and government support meant we were able to keep the staff, it was something they really did. The work was slow but it was consistent.

I dressed up Mary McAllis for a visit to Queen Elizabeth in 2011 and it was a really wonderful opportunity.

She is a strange woman. I worked with him for six weeks and it was a dream come true. Cobalt Blue said everything he wore on the night of the state dinner. It is our silhouette with tailoring, mixed with the glamor of the fabric. I think she looked beautiful and charming at the same time but was authentic. He had a little seriousness for what he called the occasion. That was a wonderful thing to do.

I like dressing Lauren Keane.

She is easily stylish and takes our pieces and makes them her own. But when he chooses something, because he loves it and can wear it in a certain way. The women I want to dress up with include Michelle Obama, Olivia Palermo and Helen Mirren.

Lauren Keane is wearing a coat of Deborah
Lauren Keane is wearing a coat of Deborah

I think if you want to dress well it comes down to quality fabrics.

That doesn’t mean spending a lot, but wearing beautiful fabrics and beautiful shapes to suit your body type. For me, the key is to start with the fabric and create the look. Choose shapes that work for you, because everyone has something they love about themselves or hate about themselves, so they know how to pronounce or hide it. It is also important to wear the right size. You can go to the shops and have three different sizes in three different shops. It’s confusing for people.

My favorite part of my wardrobe is the Sigrin’s Karven label dress in Monxtown, South Dublin.

It’s a little black dress that’s really useful. I have a beautiful tuxedo from Joseph that I love too.

My guilty secret is that I have a pair of crocs.

I bought them at a fantastic shop in Clonecilti, West Kirk and I live in them! You will also be walking in the air, they are very comfortable. I will wear them in every color soon!

I’m not a big fan of print.

I am very fascinated for neutral colors. I’m not crazy for tracksuits, but workout gear is a different thing. I also hate dry gowns. But it’s a matter of fashion, you come around yourself. I remember I would never wear skinny jeans but after a while the reluctance subsided and you started thinking “maybe I’ll try it on …”

If you are a young woman and you are thinking of moving into the fashion industry, it can be dangerously stressful and demanding.

But if you run creatively, it’s a very satisfying career. When you find great people with you, they help sustain all of this.

Recently, I worked with a company called Jack Murphy on his autumn collection and this is my first collaboration with the brand.

We have developed something that is urban chic that is still true for their own aesthetics. That’s right for me. I’m also launching the Diffusion Line, a collection of transitional pieces that bring you from home to work. We’re not back in costumes, but we’re excited to get dressed again.

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