The Label: Alvin Valley
Based In: Midtown Manhattan
Designed By: Alvin Valley, aka "The King of Pants." Valley earned that moniker from WWD back in the Nineties, when he first made a name for himself as the designer of incredibly well cut, incredibly flattering pants that were worn by celebrities such as Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow. In yet another cautionary tale about not selling your name to investors (see: Jil Sander, Doo-Ri Chung, Sigerson Morrison, Halston and Thierry Mugler), after more than a decade in the industry, Valley lost his name and business in 2009 and took a few years off to regroup. He bought back the rights to his name earlier this year and relaunched his eponymous line of pants—featuring his most beloved classics and new fashion-forward styles with a few tailored blazers thrown in for good measure—as an only-available-online collection. It is, says Valley, "strong, versatile clothing for the sophisticated woman."
Looks Like: Beautifully cut pants designed to see you through 9-to-5 and beyond. From previous bestsellers like the Wide Waistband and Lana styles to office staples like the Belt Loop trouser to new skinny, cropped, pleated and high-waisted offerings, Valley really does offer something for everyone—and every figure (the line runs from size 0 to size 14, and the designer is thinking of adding size 16 down the road). Just ask Kim Kardashian, who has publicly attested to the booty beautifying attributes of AV pants.The fall 2012 collection is all about empowering women via menswear-inspired tailoring and textiles, while spring 2013 was inspired by German castle garden owners such as the Duchess of Windsor, as can be seen in fine plaid, striped and houndstooth fabrics. The designer—who studied architecture before turning to fashion—also updated the construction of his pants with an inner support panel that makes the wearer look long and lean without being constricting. "I think the designer landscape is more difficult because the market is over saturated with well established brands as well as emerging and celebrity brands, so there is a lot of competition," Valley said when asked how the market today differs from when he originally launched in 1995. "I think it's all about knowing your customer and staying true to your brand." Clearly, he's taken his own advice to heart, and we pants lovers are all the better for it.
Sold At: Alvin Valley collection retails for $195 to $495 and is only available exclusively online at Alvin Valley's e-com site or you can book a private fitting at their NYC atelier.
graphic design by K Sarna