What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Amber Valletta? Maybe it's the '90s, maybe it's her incredible cheekbones and blue eyes or maybe it's her role as Lydia in Revenge (if you know, you know). The model-turned-actress has a career that's spanned 30 years and has seen her work for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and, of course, Versace. More recently, she's worked with emerging designers and the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program (IDEP), which is an incredible program that has supported hundreds of young design talent. We recently had the chance to chat with her about this project, what she thinks about the reemergence of the supermodels and what her favourite item of clothing is (it's not what we were expecting). Keep scrolling to read on.
WHO WHAT WEAR UK: How do you feel about the reemergence of the supers? AMBER VALLETTA: I feel really grateful to have had a 30-year career, plus it's so exciting to see the women above me still working. And to still have my own career. It's also on a deeper level–it says a lot about culture and that we're just as diverse about size as we are about age. It's great to see we're accepting of all different ages.
WWW UK: What's the best piece of fashion advice you've ever received? AV: I always go with less is more. Taking off one accessory always before you leave the house.
WWWUK: Do you have a fashion guilty pleasure? AV: Probably my overalls. I have some work overalls that I really love. It's like being a kangaroo—I usually only wear them when I'm working in the house and they're my go-to. They're pinstripe blue by Oshkosh.
WWWUK: Do you stay in touch with the models you came up in the industry with? AV: Yeah, I communicate with different women above me and through social media. People who are younger than me and older than me.
WWW UK: What would be the best advice you'd give to the younger models today? AV: Enjoy the ride and plan for the future and think about what else you want to do other than being a model. Ask yourself questions such as what do you stand for? Who are you? I think that's really important to know who you are and what you want to become.
WWW UK: What's your most fabulous fashion moment ever? AV: I would definitely say the week with Richard Avedon shooting the Versace campaign was one of the most special moments of mine, which we shot in New York during the mid-'90s. To work with a master like that and Versace was incredible. They flew in my two brothers for a couple of pictures as well.
WWW UK: Your son has started modelling. What's the one thing you've told him about making it in the industry? AV: I tell him to be polite and do a good job, but he's a really hard worker, so I really don't have to teach him much.
Getty Images; PICTURED: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Donatella Versace, and Amber Valletta
WWW UK: You're so well known for working with the big brands, but we've heard you support a lot of young designers too. What's the best way for you to be able to support up-and-coming talent? AV: From showing up at a show to giving advice to helping them look at their collection, there are so many ways to support them. I've mentored for the CFDA with emerging designers to try to help them be more sustainable. When I had business showcasing them [designers], we'd help them do shoots and seasonal campaigns. I'd even model for them.
WWW UK:You're also a real advocate of sustainable fashion. Do you think it's finally breaking through to the rest of the industry? AV: I think it's taken a while to get here. We're on the right path, but we've got a long way to go. There's a ton of innovation with machinery and technology that's super exciting. More and more brands are willing to make changes, and so that's really exciting. Hopefully, fast fashion will hopefully catch up to that. Consumers need more awareness too though.