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Carmen grew up in Westchester County, New York. His father was an anesthesiologist and mother, a nurse. In the Valvo home, traditional children’s story and coloring books were supplemented with educational and anatomy related volumes in hopes their son would follow in the family footsteps. This is where Carmen first developed the formative knowledge of the female figure that would later help him to become such a successful and intuitive designer. His artistic spirit revealed itself early on through his passion for oil painting and portraiture as well as fashion illustration. Before heading to Vienna where he hoped to pursue his artistic dreams, Carmen first attended the Fine Arts program at Manhattanville College. While traveling throughout Europe and exploring the rich cultural tapestry of centuries-old historic cities and quaint countryside, and becoming proficient in several languages, fate intervened - Carmen was injured in a car accident and returned to the States to recover. Finally realizing his true passion had always lay in fashion design, he set his sights on a career he thought was only a fantasy and enrolled in Parsons School of Design.
Upon leaving Parsons School of Design, Carmen’s first position was with Bill Atkinson in mid-1970. However, Carmen’s real professional career began with an offer to work in Paris with the house of Nina Ricci. This was followed by a position with Christian Dior in the same city. Dior is where he established his true sense of the couture aesthetic, which so embodies all of his works to date. By 1989 he was ready to launch his own label. With only a few thousand dollars, he fearlessly pulled together a collection to show to department and specialty stores at the fall fashion market in New York. His collection was an instant success and was bought by several top stores.
Since then he has been exploring his soul's desire to bring glamorous dressing to every woman's life through his eponymous Collection, whose enchanting designs have become synonymous with grace and refinement. Today his elegant eveningwear collection is a fixture at fine department stores throughout the world. Carmen’s label also appears on his highly sought-after clothing and accessory lines – including swimwear, eyewear, footwear and fur, which reflect the designer’s artistic sensibility.
Each one of Carmen’s elegant designs combines classic artistry and refinement in striking silhouettes designed to enhance and complement the inherent beauty of the female form. His unique ability to highlight a woman’s best features through the flawless execution of color and fabric has made him a favorite of celebrities seeking an unforgettable special event look. Over the past 25 years, Carmen’s stunning cocktail dresses and breathtaking couture gowns have graced some of the world’s most glamorous and talented women.