Australian fashion label Valia is a relative newcomer to the fashion world, but it has quickly created a niche for itself. With both fabrics and the styles themselves created in-house, a wonderful fusion of fabrics and colours emerges with each new season – and it keeps getting better with each new range.
The fabrics themselves are beautiful knits using cotton and linen blends in summer and wool blends for the winter range. These signature fabrics are incredibly light, often with a three-dimensional effect, and lend themselves to some great designs. The shapes and styles which emerge are not only stunning to look at, they’re functional, fun and comfortable to wear.
Valentina Verbni, the woman behind the label, draws on her unique background in both arts and fashion to design not only the styles for each season, but the fabrics which make up the range as well. She has worked for well-known labels such as Scanlan and Theodore and Kookai since arriving in Australia 22 years ago.
“Having studied both art and fashion helps me break the rules in construction and pattern,” Valentina says. “I start with conventional patterns, then drape them to create flattering shapes that wrap the body, sometimes leaving spaces in between.
This petite Ukrainian-born woman began her career as a fashion designer in Kiev (Ukraine). It was whilst watching the iconic Australian film ‘All the Rivers Run’ that she was inspired to move to Australia with her husband and son.
“I was in awe of that woman (in the movie), who lived on a houseboat and gave birth on the banks of the Murray River,” Valentina said. Her love affair with Australia had begun.
Soon after the family arrived in Australia, Valentina enrolled at RMIT. She graduated with distinction as a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion in 1996. Her Ph.D research involved developing wearable technological knits, which is evidenced in the wonderful Valia label with its unique fabrics and 3-D looks.
Valentina’s fascination with the Australian landscape and the easygoing Australian lifestyle is reflected in her designs, which she describes as ‘wearable art’.