The name Valery Demure has at once a vixen-like sexiness and a sultry softness – it’s unusual and alluring, just like her website.
Honing her eye for niche accessories while working as a buyer for cult jewellery shop Jess James in Soho, Demure became known for championing creative innovations and mentoring emerging designers. With the encouragement of industry insiders such as Francesca Burns, now fashion editor of British Vogue, she set up an agency representing the designers she discovered, the website for which ultimately spawned an e-shop seven years later.
Browsing this e-tail site feels like unearthing a treasure trove of unconventional, hand-picked gems. Exceptional pieces include Maryam Keyhani’s dramatic gathered tulle and horned rose gold necklace (first picture, £340) and Lizzie Fortunato’s 1980s-esque gold-plated and coloured-glass earrings (second picture, £170). For those who revel in standing out from the crowd, Victoria Grant’s provocative smoking-lips fascinator in sensual red velvet (third picture, £345) is delightfully tongue-in-cheek, while Benoit Missolin’s Mickey hat (£160) embraces the kitsch irony of fancy dress as fashion.
However, it is not just these distinctive products that set the site apart from its competitors – it is an overall fascination with personality. As Demure muses, “Every person is like a kaleidoscope.” Curated collections, either selected by celebrated female tastemakers or based on Demure’s broader creative inspirations (from countries to female singers), reveal how the fashion elite hone their personal style, thus sparking new ideas for browsers.
Katie Felstead’s edit is sure to excite: the freelance stylist spent almost a decade at British Vogue and has selected ultra-cool Perspex Guy Laroche sunglasses (fourth picture, £170), a Fleet Ilya bondage-inspired visor (£180) – not for the faint-hearted – and Benedetta Bruzziches’ playful yet super-luxe quilted Parrot print bag (£450). Felstead, like all other curators, is also photographed in her favourite pieces, proving there’s no better medium for expressing creative flair than a carefully chosen accessory.
Running alongside Demure’s e-shop is the webpage for her agency, where profiles on all the designers she represents can be seen, such as glitter-loving US-based exhibitionist A-Morir or Parisian Shourouk, who makes Perspex impossibly chic. Here you’ll also find Demure’s blog, Esprit de Corps, where she showcases all her inspirations, from film, vintage photographs (“I’m a real nostalgic”) to contemporary sculpture and art. It reflects the eclectic mix of old and new that can be seen in the site’s modern and vintage products. By combining her agency and e-shop webpages, the site becomes “an experience, rather than just a sale”, successfully producing a distinct brand image that champions the curious – as much the people as the products.
“The fashion world is increasingly globalised,” Valery explains. “There is less and less space for originality and sincerity. I want to create that space.”