Who doesn’t love the adorkable Amanda Valentine? I swear to god if ever we hung out, Amanda and I would get along like two looney Geminis on fire. For reals. I mean, we have so many things in common (and that didn’t sound at all like a creepy stalker).
We’re both awkward and a little loud to make up for our shyness. We have soft spots for loud, art deco statement jewellery pieces. And we’re both HUGE fans of deconstructed clothing, salvaging bits from here and from there to create a completely new, reworked garment (see sheelagoh.etsy.com and discover what Amanda used to create her first ever design here). I bet you thought I was going to say we’re both huge fans of Maroon 5, huh? Did I mention that we’re both Geminis? I mean, we share the same horoscope as Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and the Olsen twins (c’mon, I can die a happy woman now).
That said, the very first time I saw Amanda’s work, I wasn’t impressed. I cannot lie. I thought her designs were very rookie-ish, rough and nothing I’d not seen before. Thus when it became clear that she was to be the surprise 13th designer the second time around, I wasn’t all that enthused. That is until I realised she’d come into her own. Created her mark. Created her signature. Created that Valentine look. And what a darling of a look it was/is.
Beyond wearable. Beyond statement. Beyond unforgettable.
There were her uber feminine and universally flattering shift dresses with their clever colour-blocking. Those pants tailored to a T with nary a camel toe in sight. And let’s not forget her hallmark maxi dresses with their homages to the mod era (yet remaining ever so relevant and contemporary). It seemed as though there was nothing she could not create with absolute panache and perfection.
I was immensely fortunate to get in touch with Amanda and
hold her down persuade her to answer a few questions. This was no mean feat, my friends, the woman is a ball of energy and pep. Catching up to her was like, well, trying to hold on to the wind. Here’s what we talked about.
(1) Your garments are a beautiful juxtaposition of whimsical and free spirited, with old world glam. Your thoughts?
Well, thank you! I’m obsessed with contrast, with opposites. I think it’s an interesting way to look at the world- the yin and yang. It works for me really well as a way to keep things balanced visually.
(2) Your muse?
I have so many! Nikola, my model for Season 13 became a really important muse to me. I loved her input. I loved to see her reaction to what I made every week. I am constantly inspired by the women around me. Everyone from my 23 year old assistant to my business manager a couple decades older than her. They are women I want to dress! My mother, the most beautiful woman in the world, is my original muse. I grew up watching her sew, paint, and find amazing things at thrift stores. Everything she does is with grace and elegance. She’s amazing.
(3) What do you do to recharge and be inspired?
I’m naturally an introvert, so being alone is a crucial part of my process. I’m just about as obsessed with music as I am with fashion, so it usually involves listening to something way too loud in the studio while I play around with draping, going for a run or riding around with the car windows down. I’ve learned that I need to step away from the studio, too. And get outside. I’m a recovering workaholic, and I’m learning to recharge more.
(4) When was the moment you realised your clothing line could be a full time gig?
I had always HOPED it would be a full time gig, but it wasn’t until I got back from Project Runway this fall and saw the outpouring of support. I was blown away by how many people wanted to keep up with me and actually get their own Valentine Valentine piece! I really always thought I could make it happen, but it wasn’t until it actually started happening that I quit my other day job (styling).
(5) If you were a rapper, what would your stage name be?
I probably wouldn’t be a rapper, I’d be the rapper’s DJ. And duh, DJ Valentine Valentine!
Oh, Amanda, how much do we love thee? Let me count the ways.