De La Vali: Meet the designers behind Kendall Jenner's new label of choice
Since their debut in 2017, De La Vali's Laura Castro and Jana Sascha have honed their party-dressing-for-the-'gram formula to perfection. Worn by Kendall Jenner, Dua Lipa, and a host of other celebs, De La Vali's standout, abbreviated (read: super short) frocks are attention-grabbing for all the right reasons; just remember that poise is key, especially when you want to sit down or dismount a car. On the launch of their exclusive high summer collection for Net-a-Porter, we quizzed the duo on their wardrobe go-tos, hoarding habits, and soft spot for viral kid yodelers.
What are your earliest memories of fashion?
Jana Sascha (JS): Playing dress up in my mother's wardrobe.
Laura Castro (LC): Same!
What would those young girls be most surprised by in your current career?
LC: They wouldn't be surprised at our career choice, just at how well we're doing. [Laughs]
JS: It's been a real whirlwind. We're still so thrilled whenever we spot a stranger wearing De La Vali.
And for the adult versions of yourselves, what's the most unexpected part of your typical work day?
JS: When new samples arrive, and we see our creations come to life.
I can imagine how gratifying that must feel! What was the most challenging part of getting De La Vali off the ground?
LC: Becoming business-minded, and managing our growth and cash flow.
JS: For me, it would be growing our client base. Being stocked on Net-a-Porter has been really helpful in reaching other markets, especially the US where we've not had a lot of exposure yet.
Were those challenges made easier by working as a duo? What is your dynamic like?
JS: We're lucky because we share the same eye, and bounce well off each other. I do the initial sketches and show those to Laura, then together, we edit down and discuss fabrics and details.
Speaking of a shared eye, what design influences do you both return to over and over?
LC: Vintage everything, from the '20s to the '80s, as well as Spanish culture. In fact, we've just launched our exclusive summer capsule with Net-a-Porter (below), which is '70s safari-themed. There are some real dream pieces which we're excited to share.
JS: We both love going to vintage markets around the world, and also get inspired by cinema. You can get such a vibe from old gangster films or Tarantino flicks.
It's interesting to see how much these influences energise De La Vali's clothes. In your own closets, what sparks the most joy?
LC: Our own designs! We create clothes that we genuinely want to wear, so each time a collection drops and we receive our new pieces, it's like Christmas.
Any piece in particular?
LC: I think for both of us, it'd have to be our Billy Ray cropped, studded leather jacket. It just looks good with everything and so easy to wear.
And on the flip side, what item of clothing or accessory is the least used in your wardrobe, that you refuse to let go of?
JS: Between the two of us, we've a million see-through vintage gowns that have been collected over the years. They're hard to wear, but impossible to give away.
That sounds like quite the collection.
JS: We have an uncanny ability for finding treasure amongst the rubble. Take us to any car-boot sale, and we will find it!
You guys travel a great deal for both leisure and business, particularly between Ibiza, Amsterdam, and London. Could you describe what each of these places would be like, if they were people?
LC: Let's see... Ibiza would be a philanthropist with a weakness for tequila-laced smoothies; Amsterdam would be a loving, smiling mother wearing colourful tights and riding a bicycle; and London would be an open-minded young rebel who's probably in a band.
What book, film, song, and artwork should everyone experience before they die?
JS: In order? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, True Romance by Quentin Tarantino, Blue Crystal Fire by Robbie Basho, and The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.
What bit of internet ephemera deserves a place in the history books?
LC: That Walmart yodeler. We love, love him, he's fantastic!
I'm going to pick your brains as party dress-designers who I assume are also party people. You meet someone new and the conversation is, quite frankly, not that great. What's your best exit strategy?
JS: "Excuse me.. I really love this song, so I'm gonna have to go for a dance!" Just cross your fingers they don't follow you to the dance floor!
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