Rebecca Vallance

             

Having given birth to her second boy earlier this year, you might forgive designer Rebecca Vallance for taking a back seat in the business. The fact is, it's not that simple when the brand is your own. Vallance's label has been gaining momentum in the past few years with the designer landing major acounts. As she tells it, her design confidence is blooming, too. Vallance was recently invited to create an exclusive collection with Net-A-Porter, the result of which is on sale this month. Right now the juggle might be hers but the designer is embracing the challenge

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  2. Photographed by INDIA HARTFORD DAVIS 

  3. Editor NATASHA INCHLEY 

Happy Days: main picture top and above, Rebecca Vallance at home in Sydney with her two-and-a-half-year-old son Matthias. Vallance wears her own label throughout.

Looking back, what ignited your love of design? It’s all I’ve ever really known. I remember as a country kid [growing up in Ballarat, Victoria] we use to receive catalogues in the mail, and there would always be clothes that I loved and dreamed of owning, but my mother insisted that I got a job. When I turned 13 I started working in fashion and I think it benefited me to be exposed to the industry from a young age.

Your aesthetic is all about dressing up, the label is super charged:  I'd like to think people see it as being polished  in an unpolished way. The fabrics are luxurious, the silhouettes are very tailored, I'm all about beautiful details but I want our customers to be able to wear the clothes without having to think about them too much. It’s not for the faint-hearted girl who wants to melt into the corner, but rather a woman who wants to make a statement and feel proud of the way she looks. When I first started the business, I played it much safer. Now I enjoy pushing my designs a little further.

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  3. What have been some of the biggest challenges along the way? One of the greatest lessons I ever learnt was to only work with people that truly believe in you. Whether it’s an agency you’re partnering with or retailers, if people believe in your vision then it’s so much easier from day one. Also, follow your gut: when I look back, the mistakes that I made were ones that deep down I knew were not right. You have to hold your ground and not be a ‘yes’ person. Sometimes you have to take the route that’s more difficult but it’s worth it in end. There are no shorts cuts, no one is going to hand it to you, you’ve just got to roll up your sleeves. Today, the biggest kick I get is when I’m walking along the street and I see a woman in one of my dresses, that is always such a thrill for me.

A Love Like No Other: Vallance with her 10-week-old son, Rafael: "Motherhood is an extraordinary thing to experience and something that I appreciate so deeply because it was very difficult for me to become a mother, I had a lot of challenges along the way so I don’t ever take it for granted."

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What is your viewpoint on motherhood and what values do you hope to instill in your children? Motherhood is an extraordinary thing to experience and something that I appreciate so deeply because it was very difficult for me to become a mother, I had a lot of challenges along the way so I don’t ever take it for granted. I want to raise my sons with kindness and respect in mind. It’s so important in life to be kind – to yourself, to each other, and to be generous in spirit. Those values are the ones that are most important to me.

 Are you still very much hands-on in the business? I’m a workaholic, I’m always working and very much involved from conception to pattern-making, sometimes I even help out in store. I have an amazing team but I couldn’t imagine not being there. I’m enjoying watching the business grow. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when there are high highs and low lows all in a five minute period and I don't know which way to turn, but you learn, you move on, and I’m thankful.

This month, sees the launch of your six-piece collection for Net-A-Porter, one in which red carpet dressing is key. What is your approach? I have a very polished aesthetic and I’m unapologetic about that, the collection is focused on event dressing with this in mind. Whether the girls are at the Ascot races in London or a party here in Sydney, I wanted the dresses to feel very sophisticated and a little Mediterranean-inspired. I’m not good at trying to be somebody I’m not. With my collections, I design dresses I want to wear and anything else gets cut from the line very early on. I think you have to pick the kind of dresses that will make you feel like the very best version of yourself, to feel really confident – if you try and be somebody else you won’t feel comfortable. Sometimes women come in to store thinking about a little black dress, but we might encourage them to try a beautiful silver dress instead, a look that has a similar glamour but elegant details such as a grosgrain ribbon lace-up back. It’s those elegant details that just make you feel more special.

The Rebecca Vallance HS17 collection is available exclusively from Net-A-Porter from May 15th. Follow the designer @rebeccavallance or look up  RebeccaVallance.com