Val d’Azur produces elegant women’s beachwear and accessories, all proudly made in Italy
beachwear designer valerie Epple grew up in the south of France, a region that has clearly made a lasting impression on her designs. Her brand, Val d’Azur, is suffused by the landscapes, warmth and colours of the Côte d’Azur. Rich oranges evoke the local terracotta pots and roof tiles; while strong blues and delicate ethnic prints conjure up the French Riviera and nearby North African coastline.
Like the land that inspired it, the Val d’Azur aesthetic has already captivated women across Europe. “The aim is simply that when our client goes to the beach, she feels confident,” says Valerie, who is now based in Germany, although she still has a second home in St Tropez. She set up her company in 2011 after realizing that existing beachwear brands didn’t meet the needs of women.
Her designs are calculated to achieve the ultimate flattering silhouette by coupling one-piece costumes or bikinis with a choice of floaty tunics, sarongs, robes and wide-legged pants. This element of adaptability and mix-and-match personalization has proved to be the company’s strongest suit: Val d’Azur is now stocked in 50 shops across Europe and even has a foothold in the USA.
Valerie made a point of moving away from mass-market, throwaway fashion swimsuits to embrace design and manufacturing processes that produced something more original. Val d’Azur prints are made with high-quality fabrics in mind – linen and silk, as well as cotton and Lycra – which Valerie and her co-designer carefully select with a view to doing the patterns justice.
“It costs us a huge amount of time and money,” says Valerie. “Each annual collection takes us around six months to design and prepare.” The garments themselves are manufactured near Milan, where there is a rich history of textile expertise. Intricate details and finishing touches are then hand-sewn by highly skilled craftswomen in Italy
“They make them with love,” says Valerie. “They take their time and do things as they should be done.” She admits to being a perfectionist; and she’s conscious all the time of a need to move forward. “I never stay in the same spot,” she says, “I always want to progress, I always want the next collection to be better than the last.”