Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall, found the perfect designer.
Several years ago, I mentioned to my London based-friend, a public relations maven, that I was planning a visit to London. Always thinking about her clients, Judith mentioned that perhaps I would like to meet the designer of, Camilla Parker Bowles’s wedding ensembles; the soon to be Duchess of Cornwall. Obviously, this would not include the Royal wedding outfit. What fashion writer could say no?
Anna Valentine may not be a designer’s name on the tip of every tongue, especially of those who are not British or live in the rarified enclaves of those who trod the worn path to her design studio. (She had just moved to larger quarters and her walkway had already seen throngs of socialites, celebs, and the financially very well off, walk her concrete carpet).
When I entered Anna Valentine’s then studio, it was neatly organized, and her very pricey clothing was hidden behind closet doors.
Valentine is a gamin- like, petite, blonde with short-cut hair and is the perfect advertisement for her own designs. Simple elegance!
She started her business with a partner in 1986. Antonia Robinson and Anna Valentine’s label then, was Robinson Valentine. Times, people, and circumstances change and when Ms. Robinson moved to Cornwall, the obvious happened and the label became eponymous.
Anna Valentine was the perfect choice for Camilla Parker Bowles who, admittedly, is not a fashionista. But with the assistance of Ms. Valentine, she has become stunning and looks fabulous. Pale pink, dove grey, pistachio green, are Valentine’s well-chosen couturier colours for her. The creative Valentine adds unexpected pleating favourable to the Duchess’s silhouette. Other accents aren’t noticeable at first, but what are soon seen are her magnificent fabrics.
The Duchess of Cornwalls’s wedding outfit to marry Prince Charles was a stunning collar-less, long, light-weight coat over a silk dress in the lightest grey with hand-painted edges. She looked absolutely smashing.
That said, one of the Duchess’s favourite evening outfits by Ms.Valentine, is a flaming red, ankle-length gown, with a front panel featuring various-sized florals with black rims..
As for her step daughters-in-law, Ms. Valentine’s designs, although she does create slim, dark column dresses and special ‘casual’ clothing, just wouldn’t look right. Stunning as her ensembles are, they are not for fashion-forward fashionistas, like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex or Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. They want clothing that show their curves, yet are still regal and keep to the rules of not too low necklines or too short hems.
Ms. Valentine keeps her designs for the Duchess of Cornwall, age-appropriate and, where needed, nipped in, creating a slimmer look. Any pleating is below the waist, creating the illusion of a slim silhouette.
Fabric, form, and function are Ms.Valentine’s motto.
The Duchess of Cornwall is not her only special or very wealthy client but they all keep a low profile. Anna Valentine, above all, loves deluxe fabrics which make her outfits stand out from the crowd.
Anna Valentine is a name to remember for those who haven’t known it before.