Her world is a dark and elegantly sexy universe, oozing culture, history and experimentation. Ladies and gentlemen, one of the most promising stylists in Los Angeles, Valerj Pobega, 100% Italian. Defining her style is not an easy task: avant-garde meets burlesque, sculpture meets painting, ancient literature meets black and white movies of the Twenties, New York’s underground and bohemienne mood meets up-and-coming LA couture. No, I am not describing a fantasy world. Valerj’s cultural blend of art and fashion wraps all these elements into shows that go far beyond any regular catwalk. How? Well, by making a strong statement, by presenting her collections in art gallery settings where the audience is actually able to feel and touch her clothes and become an essential and emotional part of the happening itself. Briefly, this is the story of Valerj, a young woman who was born – and has always lived – among artists; a former top-model who traveled the world just to create her own vision of fashion and style, starting years ago with a ready-to-wear clothing line back in Milan, and now entering the world of couture from the city of Angels. I met her at LA Fashion Week 2011 @ ACE Gallery, and I was literally blown away by the historically obscure and mysterious journey she took me on during the art-gallery-style show.

valerj pobega backstage models

Me and the models

One of the first images that come to mind when adventuring into the Italian style world is la Dolce Vita. How do you feel this whole concept has been transformed through the years and how do you live your Italian background, blended into your cosmopolitan and globetrotter kind of life?

I was born in Alghero, Sardinia – she tells me – but I started traveling the world when I was very young; my parents are both artists and the vibrant cosmopolitan culture started flowing into my veins very soon. I love Italy and I love Italian style, but nowadays you don’t get the Dolce Vita mood anymore; that era was glamorous and fascinating, but today I feel like globalization has won it over, today I prefer to talk about European style, which is always ahead of its time.

 

Do you have a role model or someone you consider as the symbol of Italian style around the world?

I do love Prada, I think Miuccia perfectly embodies what the Italian taste is, in every creation she design. She is the synonym of innovation to me. From accessories to clothes, her lines are elegant and clean and she pays attention to details without superfluous exaggerations.

 

How would you define Italian style in just one word?

Good question, I think I just said it without even thinking about it.  I would definitely say tastefulness. In Italy we really care about quality, and not just in the fashion business.  We won’t settle for an average wine, we look for good food and we want to be stylish, always, even to go grocery shopping or to the bank.

 

You moved to LA with your husband seven years ago, how do you recreate a touch of Italy at home and in your everyday life?

You know, Los Angeles is home for me. I have always loved this city and I always knew I would move here one day.  I don’t need Italian things to remind me where I come from, but as a collector and literature lover, I have an infinite collection of Italian books on art, photography and fashion. It’s all related to culture.  For coffee… I honestly go to Starbucks, I don’t even have an espresso machine at home.

 

When you get the chance to go back to Italy, where’s the first place you need to go to?

Well, I’m from Sardinia…I need my sea, but when I go to Milan for business, it’s all about art galleries and boutiques. Every journey I take back to my roots has a theme, and the destination changes according to it, from time to time.

 

Your collections are like paintings on fabric, and the last one you presented at LA Fashion Week, Kabaret 1939, was all about the Thirties and the freedom of the dark and erotic post-war atmosphere; what can we expect from the next one?

Kabaret was very dear to me, because I have always loved the Thirties, and before WWII Germany was the destination for creative people around the world.  Art in all its forms was allowed to blossom back then. I used silk charmeuse, chiffon and taffeta combined with military style; I can’t reveal too much about the next one because there might be a chance for me to also  be  part of New York fashion week and I want it to be a complete surprise, but I can tell you that I’m not done with experimentation and historical journeys.

massive attack valerj pobega

Teardrop, a song by Massive Attack, was a source of inspiration for the new collection.

A couple of my drawings from the new collection.

valerj pobega lookbook

Fall/Winter '11

valerj pobega sketchbook

Fall/Winter '11

valerj pobega show models

An image from the fashion show

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With actress Monet Mazur, she loves my creations…

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Collection 2011 Spring presentation…

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More @ www.valerjpobega.com

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