Valvo's moody gowns inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

Associated Press
A model walks the runway at the presentation of the Carmen Marc Valvo Fall 2013 fashion collection during Fashion Week, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Carmen Marc Valvo's tell-tale heart drew him to Edgar Allan Poe for inspiration.

"I was thinking long, lean, moody and dark," the designer said backstage after his show Friday for fall and winter. "Edgar Allan Poe. Creatures of the night. With a little rock 'n' roll, too."

The show featured some stunning gowns in ivory, grape and merlot, but most creations were in black, and Valvo said he was so taken with black this season that he almost did the entire collection in it. "It really makes you focus on the structure and the detailing, to make sure each dress is different," he explained.

The show opened with what seemed a perfect nod to the stormy weather: An embroidered trench with patent leather squares, all in black.

But soon the glamour items hit the runway — cocktail dresses and flowing gowns heavy on lace, embroidery, brocade or leather cutouts. One big hit was a black embroidered gown with sheer long sleeves and bodice, and leather on the sides of the waist — creating what Valvo called "the illusion of a corset." The same dress came in a short, sleeveless cocktail version.

Other highlights: A long black wool gown with an alligator inset on top, plunging to a low V. And an ivory halter brocade gown that had a deep split down the skirt, revealing a sparkly black tweed pant underneath.

Actress Nichole Galicia, who appears in "Django Unchained," especially loved a couple of gowns in flowing ivory — but was partial to the black lacy gowns, too. "I'm doing some mental shopping here," quipped the actress, who wore Valvo to a recent event honoring "Django" director Quentin Tarantino. "I'm still looking for an Oscar dress."

Galicia was wearing a sleek-fitting Valvo dress and black heels, and looked positively summery considering the blustery climes. "I'm suffering for my art today — or actually for my fashion," she noted.

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