“Like visual art forms such as painting and sculpture, fashion design requires technical attention to complementary lines, colors and textures. And in the same way, for the visual arts, fashion communicates and captures specific moments of our cultural narrative and converses with conceptions throughout history.

– Maria Venturini, seamstress

TThe endless waste of traffic time in the Seattle area may have driven Maria Venturini to Walla Walla, but what really drew the fashion designer here was the valley’s natural beauty.

“I came in 2019, so tired of the rat race. I lived in Bainbridge (west of Puget Sound from Seattle) and it was difficult to leave the island. You could waste a whole day doing one thing, ”she said. “I’m more of a country girl than a city girl even though I love fashion.”

And that’s the essential for designer-owner Venturini Couture, originally from Lima, Peru. Her artistic passion is fashion.

“Nature is my inspiration. The earth, the flowers, the green countryside. Here, it’s so wonderful to see all these colors. Here at Walla Walla, I feel right at home. There are a lot of wineries and I love wine. You can dress well for a glass of wine, ”she said.

Driven by a spirit of innovation, she continued: “Art for me is any form of creative expression. Simply put, fashion is a creative expression and people use it to express their unique identity on a daily basis.

“Each culture has its respective fashion styles that communicate and reflect its values, beliefs and history. Like visual art forms such as painting and sculpture, fashion design requires technical attention to complementary lines, colors and textures. And in the same way, for the visual arts, fashion communicates and captures specific moments of our cultural narrative and converses with conceptions throughout history.

Address pollution issues

Venturini exercises an artistic eye and flair to create her unique garments. Reuse, recycle and reuse second-hand fabrics and clothing is also part of its sensitivity to avoid contributing to a burgeoning pollution problem.

She maintains that the fashion industry is a big polluter. Sustainyourstyle.org proves it: industry “is the second biggest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. And environmental damage increases as the industry expands.

The chain of damage is a combination of pollution and water consumption, microfibers in the oceans, waste accumulation, chemical damage, greenhouse gas emissions, soil deflation and desertification and destruction of tropical forests.

She cited the habit in the 1800s of changing a dress in her wardrobe simply by changing the sleeves, skirt, or bodice.

“I can do the same, modify an existing skirt or make another dress from the original,” Venturini said.

She scours the flea markets in search of hangings and other fabrics. “There is always a treasure there. My first sale was pants made from a recycled curtain.

Designs win awards

In 2016, she took part in the Goodwill Designer Challenge in the SoDo neighborhood of downtown Seattle. The skirt she made from two pillowcases and a bed skirt won the Goodwill gala competition.

“My creations are always something unique. I don’t like doing for the masses. I focus on each person individually, I satisfy the client and I make them feel beautiful.

She is currently practicing as a solo practitioner.

“A client gets an appointment, I measure, I make the pattern, I cut the fabric and I sew it, mostly by hand. I am a one-woman show.

She designs by sketches or sometimes, by the touch of the fabric.

“I’m going to touch a tissue and I know what I’m going to do with it. I drape it and make the final products. To have it in your mind or put on a dress form and then see on the person, I can see what looks good and what doesn’t. I look at what looks good on your figure so that you look good in the mirror, ”she said.

“People can bring a photo of whatever they want, something long-sleeved or short-sleeved. I have a lot of fabrics, including Laila Bridal Studio on Birch Street, which closed in 2019 when owner Laurie Haluska moved to Texas, ”Venturini said.

Inspired by family heritage

Venturini’s ancestors come from Spain, France, Italy and Peru. Her former husband is Cherokee, Irish and Scottish, making their daughters, Sarah Muir and Catherine “Catie” Muir, “a cocktail”.

Venturini’s grandmothers were seamstresses, she says.

“Even the governor’s wife came to my grandmother for her sewing.

Her mother sewed for her eight children.

“She learned to sew and make patterns and did everything for me. We used to buy clothes from older cousins ​​and she remakes them for me.

“From a small thing you can do something good. I learned from mom to tailor clothes. Then, during my divorce, I turned to sewing.

Catie Muir urged her mother to go to fashion school. Venturini applied to the Art Institute of Seattle on a Monday in 2015 and that Friday she was in class. She graduated with honors in 2017, received the school’s designer of the year award in June – “and went straight to sewing”.

She also holds degrees in computer programming, management information systems and international business.

Venturini discovered Walla Walla in the early 2000s when the family came to her daughter’s softball tournaments.

“I looked around and wanted to move here at that time, but I couldn’t because my kids didn’t want to move.”

Once single, she decided to start over and bought her house here through Facetime. She meets clients in a lovely room in her home and maintains a creative and tidy workspace with sewing, drawing and cutting tables, mannequins, a variety of fabrics and other accessories from her garage, including old irons, to weigh down the fabric on which she works. .

She likes light and airy materials like silk and organza.

“I like the fabrics that fall, not stretchy, but I try to work with whatever I have,” she said.

She sewed her 2020 line in a week with the silk organza she had on hand.

“The creative director didn’t like it, so I changed him in a week.”

There is a sultry fluidity in the clothes coming out of Venturini’s drawing pad and onto the runway. A video of his 2020 collection, on ubne.ws/2020line, shows satins, silks, lace and feathers that move with the models. Open back, deep V-necklines or necklines, sequins; all celebrate the female form.

From simple lines to ornate, patterned and textured fabrics, the clothes in the Ready-to-Wear / AW 2021 collection carry Italian names such as the Cioccolato skirt, the Sogno Arrugginito top, the Georneta Selvaggia blouse, the Culture Verdi pants and the Verde Foresta skirt. Prices range from $ 120 for the Cafe Con Leche turtleneck to $ 900 for the Amezzanote Inviatta evening dress with train.

Venturini sewed dresses for contestants in beauty pageants such as Miss Planet USA and Ms. International Washington.

As the business opens, she plans to hold a grand opening ceremony at her home.

Participation in Fashion Week

His plans were dashed to be at London Fashion Week after the COVID-19 hit.

“A fashion school in Milan wanted me to visit but everything fell apart in 2020.”

She said she won’t be going to Fashion District NW in Seattle this year.

“But every time they open up and invite me, I’ll be there,” she said.

Fashion designers always anticipate several seasons, even years. She will be in New York for a Fall Independent Designer Fashion Week showcasing her Spring / Summer 2022 Recycled Glamor collection. She brings the shoes and clothes and models, hair and makeup are provided for a fee, she said. She brings along Simon Diez, a Seattle-born photographer from Peru, and makeup artist Wallace Grow.

Venturini’s 2024 Heritage collection features Peruvian Inca-influenced patterns in warm hues she created in cotton, twill and chiffon. Blouses, suits and other clothing are part of the range.

Her inspiration comes from high-end workshops in Paris and Milan, she said. Romantic details and tailoring are evident in her dresses, evening wear, and ready-to-wear.

Venturini has publicized his work with advertising articles in GQ, British Vogue, House & Garden and other national and international magazines.

Through Atelier Venturini, she modifies and manufactures clients’ favorite clothes, such as hems, creating zippers for pants, jeans, skirts and dresses or for fabric jackets, in down or leather, all for a fee.

She would like to do a fashion show in collaboration with downtown businesses, “and show what’s going on in the fashion world.” We could raise money for a charity, ”she said. She made a $ 1,000 dress for the 2019 Blue Mountain Humane Society Fundraising Gala.

Venturini’s work begins with a goal in mind.

“What I do is make women feel and look beautiful,” she said. “You can still be beautiful and beautiful. You can look good and wear good things. I like to cheer them up.

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