Creator of highly desirable hair accessories, Valérie Valentine designs for the catwalk, for brides-to-be, looks for day and night, and bespoke items for individual clients. Anyone whose motto is “Be happy and enjoy” is surely going to be a mood-enhancing experience, right? We talked to the Paris-based designer and found this to be true!
My career began as an Atelier Manager for leather garments. It was my sister, who worked for a metal frame company, who suggested making leather hairpins. Our father even offered us the name of a company he owned, Valéria, which proved to be a good omen!
We designed our early pieces in our home. For ten years we dealt with retailers such as Le Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Sephora, and markets that included France, Japan and China, enjoying the opportunity to create what we liked.
Every Valérie Valentine piece is handmade at the atelier in Paris. Several students from L’École Grégoire-Ferrandi (the famous Paris college for craftsmanship and interior design) were taught by me, after which I hired them! Everyone who works here has a specialism, such as creating leather-crafted flowers.
I’m hands-on with the materials right from the start. I follow color trends, but I’m also inspired by my travels. Every so often I need to hang out in the street to pick up the vibe—though my work is still infused with my personality. I was in India last week, so who knows what impact it will have!
My business retailers are like my friends—there’s a lot of trust there, and I always keep them in mind when it comes to colors, materials and shapes. It’s fun, too, to make bespoke pieces for special requests and fashion shows: I don’t have limits—I just try to create exceptional pieces that please me as well as all other women.
The collaboration with Swarovski began in 2001. At first I used crystals in small quantities, but these days nearly all my pieces are embellished, and everyone associates Valérie Valentine with crystal! My partnership with Swarovski serves as a reminder of the quality of our products, which is reassuring for my clients.
Crystal has always been a passion of mine—their shine, and of course the childhood dream of being a princess. I love watching customers in my store in Paris discover my sparkling creations. It motivates me to carry on conceptualizing work and enhancing it with Swarovski crystals.
The Barrette TRESOR is my proudest innovation: it’s a hairclip sheathed in soft, plunged (a dipping technique) leather that’s decorated with plunged lambskin roses, and borders and hearts set with crystals. For me, the glamour of this piece epitomizes the Valérie Valentine brand.