It's always a treat when an amazing designer comes to town. But when an amazing designer turned literary comes to town, it adds a whole new dimension to the experience of the meet and greet. A book signing means conversation, inspiration and, if you're lucky, a few insider tips from the expert himself. This was exactly what took place when our beloved Carmen Marc Volvo visited Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue for a special book signing event.
His glossy tome, "Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moment" is a collaborative effort that blends both his personal years of experience with the talents and insight of the leading ladies that he's helped make beautiful over the years. Two of his longtime clients and friends, Vanessa Williams and Katie Couric, penned the foreward which celebrates the longtime brilliance of Volvo's designs. Volvo himself worked with Women's Wear Daily correspondent Holly Haber on creating the book's content, comprised of both anecdotal recollections and historical sources.
I of course have met CMV several times in the past four seasons that I've done backstage interviews for his shows. I've bet both Williams and Couric at his show and was even among the lucky few to receive a copy of "Dressed to Perfection" in the fall '11 runway show gift bag. It currently resides on my coffee table and begs to be flipped through which many of my house guests oblige, remarking on the stunning photography.
Approaching him at the signing table, he looked as gracious as ever, beaming to his guests as models flaunted his gorgeous designs behind him. He took the time to speak with everyone that approached him and his face lit up when I told him of our previous meetings, telling me I did indeed look familiar and of course he was a fan of Second City Style (swoon!). I asked him about his schedule since the February shows and if he had been able to take a break from all the excitement. He noted with a smile that the book tour had kept him on the road for the past several weeks but after Chicago he had one more stop in upstate New York and then would be taking a much needed vacation. No one deserves it more!
As we chatted, I was able to ask Volvo a few things on the conception of the book:
SCS: How has the process been switching from designing gorgeous gowns to penning a gorgeous book?
CMV: For me, creating this book was really a journey. A journey not unlike creating a collection in that it has the same creative processes, the same seasonalities and attention to detail. It had to possess real sensitivity and real imagination and I had to decide how it would move, the layout, the flow of the chapters—from the first look to the finale so to speak (laughs). I really wanted it to be a visual feast and I got such amazing help from the celebrities and models and the tips and hints they provided.
SCS: What can we look for in the content of the book?
CMV: It's a little biographical, a little anecdotal. It discusses color and movement and touches on the great architects of fashion, the building blocks and the iconic designers that have created the concept of red carpet glamour. I really wanted to include the groundbreaking visionaries that have been making women feel beautiful for generations. The pictures are gorgeous, but I think there's also just enough prose to make it feel intimate and relatable.
SCS: What is the message that you'd like to your readers to take away?
CMV: Ultimately, the purpose of the book is to make women feel empowered. Many women don't feel comfortable taking centerstage, even for smaller events in their everyday lives and this book is not only about finding those red carpet moments in the everyday, but embracing them and celebrating them. Whether its a wedding, a banquet, a Bar Mitzvah—whatever the occasion may be, it's not about just looking good but feeling your best. And I hope this book provides enough for women to take away some of that, something to make them feel confident and comfortable and excited for their red carpet moments.
As always it was a joy to kick back with CMV for a moment. And judging by the line of avid fans that formed behind me, it seemed there was no shortage of women who, with his help, were getting ready for their upcoming red carpet moments. Thank you again Carmen Marc Volvo and Neiman Marcus!
Photo Source: Second City Style