Since her first show in Paris in 2011, Rebecca Vallance has cultivated a brand into a celebrity favourite and one that is stocked both locally and internationally. Her designs have been seen on everyone from Emily Blunt to Rachel McAdams and Chrissy Teigen and is now available at designer boutiques including Harvey Nichols, Net-a-Porter and My Theresa, along with bricks and mortar stores in Sydney and Melbourne. However that’s only just the beginning. As one of Australia’s top designers, Rebecca has her sights set on expanding her brand both at home and globally, and from our chat she’s not about to slow down any time soon. Here I chat to Rebecca about the two women she would love to dress, the one piece she considers to be one of her standout designs and why she only ever wears her own label.
What’s the latest with you?
I have just come back from London. I was there for Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and meeting with press over there. So it went really well. The brand’s on a big trajectory over there, so it’s really exciting to be there and be a part of it.
I know it’s amazing. I think last time I interviewed you, you were about to show at Australian Fashion Week.
Ah yes. Two years ago. Oh my god.
Now you’re showing internationally.
Yeah. So in that two years we picked up Net-a-Porter, and all the big international majors like MyTheresa. Then we’ve opened our stores now.
Oh yes, that’s right. You had just opened [in Sydney’s] Mosman.
Just opened Mosman. There’s Armadale [in Victoria] as well, which is a beautiful store. We’ve just opened The Strand [in Sydney] last week, two weeks ago, which is beautiful, and the pop-up in Paddington [in Sydney].
Congratulations! So why did you choose The Strand?
We could see from our eCommerce site that we were sending a lot [of orders] to the city, and we just wanted our customers to be able to come to the store and have the full Rebecca Vallance experience. To be able to see the full collection.
When you first started your label did you ever imagine that it would grow to what it has done now?
Look that was the goal, I hoped, but I think from day one, when I launched it in London, I always wanted it to have an international DNA and an international customer. Yeah, that’s always been the focus. We’re thrilled it’s going so well.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It changes every season. Like the collection that’s in store at the moment was inspired by one of Pablo Picasso’s works, The Ladies of Avignon. But then the Resort Collection, I was planning my husband’s 40th in Capri, and [I was inspired by] the colours of Capri. So it really depends what’s going on with me at the time and what I’m thinking about.
Out of all your collections, what has been the biggest stand-out piece that you’ve designed?
Oh wow. Look, I think [TV presenter] Sylvia Jeffreys‘ wedding dress was definitely quite special. But every season we evolve the brand. Every season there’s a new favourite. We’re definitely known for our dresses, but suiting for us is having a huge moment at the moment. You wore the Maya Suit.
Oh I love that suit.
Yeah. I think it’s about evolving the brand to a point where we’re known for most of the women’s wardrobe. You know options for everything. I think too, we’ve just launched Pre-Fall today, and that’s beautiful, that’s really special. I think that’s probably the collection I’m most proud of to date.
That’s amazing. You’ve had so many celebrities wear your outfits. Who are some of your highlights?
I think Emily Blunt was a highlight. She did a great speech [for Variety magazine] and she wore Rebecca Vallance for that. But we’ve got some great girls in the pipelines at the moment that are about to wear RV.
I noticed when I was in London last week, everyone knew of the brand, which was really exciting, and all the editors were already across it and already wearing it themselves. I think that’s exciting. You can see it’s obviously picked up an international following, and The Strand’s done really well already, so that’s good.
If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be?
Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett.
You are a mum of two, young boys.
How do you juggle work, running a successful business, and having two kids?
It’s so full-on. I am obsessed with my two little boys, they are just adorable. They’re so sweet. I look forward to every day. I love going home to give them dinner, and bath them, and play, and hang out. I think it’s about priorities. There are times where they really need me around 24/7, and there are times where they don’t, so it’s about prioritising, about what I’m doing every day and making sure that I’m available for both. But it’s also too quality over quantity.
So if my boys need me, then being at home, but if the business needs me then being at work. So I just do my best. I’m not saying I’ve got it perfected but I do my best.
What’s your number one style tip?
I think it’s not about what you wear. It’s how you wear it. I think if you wear anything with confidence, you’re 1,000 steps ahead.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
Wardrobe essentials. I think, for winter, a long-sleeved dress, like the one I’m wearing. Long sleeve mini dress. And colour! I always see so much black and charcoal and brown and whatever. I think colour for winter. I’ve tried this season. I made a conscious effort in putting lots of colour and colour palettes.
What are we seeing for winter?
So this [colour] that’s a dark raspberry, maroon, but then I’ve also done lots of blush and ivory. So I just felt even though it’s winter, your personality should still shine through with some colour. So yes there’s lots of beautiful knits that are colourful, and always beautiful coats. I’ve done a beautiful tweed coat this season, which has got bold statement buttons on it, and it’s quite distressed and it’s quite beautiful. There’s always some things that are staple pieces but a little bit different.
How would you describe the RV girl?
I think polished in an undone way.
Where do you see you and your brand in five years time?
I hope we’ll have lots of international retail stores. I hope we’ll have beautiful Australian retail as well, and I hope the brand will continue on the way that it’s going. I want it to be internationally renowned, that’s for sure.
What sets you apart from other designers?
I think it’s our unique DNA. We know who our customer is, and I think it’s our product. Each season we try and refine it more and push it further and making sure when people see the collection, they know that’s a Rebecca Vallence dress.
Is your wardrobe filled with your own collection or do you wear other brands?
I only wear Rebecca Vallance.
Do you really?
Yeah I know. Well this is the thing. I think for me I design what I want to wear to some extent. So, there’s always everything that I want in a collection because it’s what I’m looking to wear. So yeah I only wear my own stuff, and obviously shoes and handbags is different.
Have you ever seen a piece of clothing that you’re like, “Oh, I wish I had designed that.”?
Not yet. I think there’s some incredible wedding gowns. I appreciate other designers, absolutely, but I think I’m so focused on what we’re doing as a brand that I’m kind of stuck looking at that.
You see so many designers that take inspiration from international designers. How do you steer clear from not making it look too trend orientated?
I think that when I launched the brand when I lived in London, I wanted it to have an international DNA and be authentic to who I was and we were as brand, and that’s, you know whether it’s going to Europe and sourcing out fabrications or working to develop that fabrications with the mills.
Will you ever face moving the business overseas?
I hope that if it becomes a problem, that the business is too big to be just in Australia, I hope to see it off in London and New York. Yeah for sure.
Is there anything coming up we need to know about?
I think for us at the moment, we’ve had the launch of the Strands store which is really exciting. They’re putting a tram in George Street [in Sydney] as well, so there will be lots of traffic coming through there. In addition, were launching Paddington, test it to see how it goes. I think we’ll just keep building out online. It’s doing very well at the moment, whether it’s in Australia or our global customer. I think it’s about doing what we’re doing well and refining it and pushing the collection further and further.
We went to: Rosetta
We ate: Grilled market fish with salmoriglio; Burrata with radicchio; Green salad
We drank: White wine
Rebecca wore a Rebecca Vallance dress
I wore an Unreal Fur jacket