Carmen Marc Valvo, is a quintessential American designer who, since 1989, has been exploring his soul’s desire to bring glamorous dressing to every woman’s life. Although his sumptuous creations have made him a favorite among Hollywood’s top leading ladies, it’s his devotion to his non-celebrity clients that have made him a star. Time Magazine stood up and took notice of Valvo after his fall 2005 collection in a feature story saying “While other designers seek to shock, Valvo’s creations shine in the marketplace.”
Valvo’s professional career began as a designer for Nina Ricci in Paris, followed by a stint at Christian Dior. But by 1989, he was ready to launch his own label. With only a few thousand dollars, Valvo pulled together a collection to show to department and specialty stores at the fall market in New York. His sportswear was an instant success and was bought into several top stores, but it was his eveningwear, his true passion, that captured the hearts of buyers at both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
With all the spot light on Valvo and his breathtaking fashion, the public thought nothing could go wrong for the designer. However, few knew Valvo was fighting for his life against colon cancer. In his revealing speeches, he shares his private struggles with this disease and his new passion as an advocate for colorectal cancer awareness.
It was in 2003 when Valvo began to feel like something was off during the preparation of his fall collection. In his late forties at the time, he was just shy of the recommended age (50) to begin colorectal cancer screening. However, Valvo listened to his body and insisted on having a colonoscopy, an insistence that may have saved his life. His doctors found a large tumor inside his colon. Wanting to be rid of this foreign invader immediately, he quickly and quietly underwent surgery to remove the tumor, disclosing his condition to only a few key employees.
After experiencing a life-changing diagnosis, Valvo is now an Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) Ambassador and has given both his time and money to the organization, which has helped raise millions of dollars for Colon Cancer Research. He has always utilized his designs to help with many causes over the years, but especially the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA). In addition, Valvo has been working with Katie Couric, since she partnered with 7th on Sixth in 2004, to bring attention and support of research of this deadly disease. His efforts, on behalf of the organization, were honored at a gala in March 2006 in New York where he received the first ever Advocate Award from Katie Couric.
For Valvo, the “Be Seen, Be Screened” campaign is a way to further the dialogue about colon cancer and thereby decrease its stigma and raise awareness for screening and early detection. Now cancer-free for almost five years, Valvo travels the world finding inspiration for his remarkable designs and shares his story of survival with audiences, giving hope to those touched by cancer.