De La Vali’s Ibizan party glamour is winning over premium shoppers: paving the way high-profile retailer tie-ups and imminent international expansion.
De La Vali began life on the beach. Specifically, it began life on the glamorous, sun-drenched beaches of Ibiza – where childhood friends Jana Sascha and Laura Castro founded the premium womenswear brand in 2015.
Known for its bohemian dresses and bold prints, the brand officially launched for wholesale in autumn 17, as an exclusive by Browns in the UK.
Today it has rapidly gained traction in the premium sphere – from its single first season retail partner, it now has 50 stockists around the world: including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Net-a-Porter in the UK. The label also sells direct to consumers via its own website. Castro describes the platform as “fast growing” for De La Vali, although declines to give any exact sales figures.
The brand joins Rixo, Stine Goya and Reformation in occupying a contemporary pricing sweet spot for dresses. Retail prices range from £140 for a dress to £1,000 for outerwear, which wholesale at £63.60 and £454.50 respectively on a 2.2 mark-up.
De La Vali began life several years before its Browns debut as a small-scale dress label in Ibiza. Sascha describes the beginnings of the brand as “unconventional”.
At the time based in Amsterdam, Castro and Sascha spotted a gap in the market for vintage-inspired dresses that referenced Ibiza’s relaxed, feminine aesthetic. The pair travelled to Goa, India, to source dead stock fabrics from sari manufacturers that they made into dresses that were sold by small boutiques on Ibizan shores.
“By the following year we had Kate Moss wearing the brand,” says Sascha. “We were so surprised. There was just this incredible response.”
“We were at a party in the summer and there were 20 girls wearing Vali dresses – two sets of three girls wearing the same dress. That’s when we decided to take it to the next level.”
Today, the brand has its headquarters in London, but retains a sense of summer, Ibizan glam to its aesthetic. Sascha describes the brand as: “Bold, vivacious, fun and eccentric. It’s bohemian in the classic sense. Feminine and elegant,” and adds that its core customers – the “Vali Vixens” – can vary hugely in age.
“It’s the same woman through all different points of her life,” she says. “It’s a really ageless customer. We have mums and daughters that shop the collection.”
Bestselling styles include the Suki dress (£325) – a silk mini style with a Chinese-style collar – and the Koko (£445) – another silk mini style with square neckline and puffed sleeves. Both come in an array of bold prints.
Although minis are the brand’s signature, Sascha says that floaty and ethereal maxi styles also perform well.
Although predominantly known for its dresses, for autumn 19, the brand added outerwear and tailoring for the first time.
Most recently, the brand released an exclusive capsule collection for resort 19 with Net-a-Porter, featuring tailoring, mini-kimono dresses and bold sequinned styles.
“De La Vali’s collections are filled with statement pieces that reflect the designers’ Ibizan heritage,” says Libby Page, senior markets editor at Net-a-Porter. “The capsule collection is perfectly aligned with the brand’s bohemian and psychedelic aesthetic.
Puffed-up sleeves, lightweight silk georgette and lustrous gold satin twill add a party twist for the festive season.” She highlights the green two-piece satin suit and the Clara sequin dress as stand-out styles.
Looking ahead, accessories and childrenswear are both categories De La Vali is eyeing with interest.
The brand is on the cusp of further growth. Having seen strong sales in the US market through stockist Net-a-Porter, De la Vali is preparing for a bigger push and is targeting additional stockists.
Team expansion is also a priority, focusing on production roles to maintain quality and design standards as the brand scales up. An office move to accommodate the growing team is on the horizon. The team is currently made up of 10 people.
Previously made local to Sascha and Castro’s Ibiza home, manufacturing has shifted to accommodate growth. Part of the collection is made in London, and other elements in Romania or China.
While the brand is capitalises on its hype, Sascha and Castro must remain sharp to changing trends and avoid becoming repetitive in design. Any brand with such a strong, recognisable signature risks falling out of favour if it fails to adapt and customers feel product has become stale.
However, if the brand continues to stretch into categories beyond dresses and is retaining its fresh, playful and feminine appeal, it should be set for continued success in future seasons.