The term ‘heritage’ is employed by, and on behalf of, luxury houses fairly liberally these days. It’s understandable. Not only does it encourage trust in a brand, but we all admire objects that have authenticity and have stood the test of time; it’s a natural predilection. And in the case of the outerwear specialists Valstar, the term is justified.
Founded in Milan in 1911, Valstar was one of the city’s first luxury houses. “We have a lot of love for Milan, and we are very proud of that,” Matteo Bozzalla, the Chief Executive, tells The Rake. Through two world wars and drastic changes in fashion and sociopolitical climates, Valstar has continuously produced iconic garment styles that have retained a timeless aesthetic, all the while boasting a quality make.
Valstar demonstrates a strict ‘made in Italy’ methodology, though its production process can be linked to Britain. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Britain was at the forefront of textile and fabric experimentation, and the techniques and systems used soon found their place in Valstar’s workshop, where the idea of a systematic line was adopted. Bozzalla explains that, “Valstar structured a production chain in a small workshop in Milan, where each craftsperson specialised in their own individual stage, all of which were as crucial as the next. The first one was selecting the fabrics, the second was cutting the fabrics, the third was sewing the fabrics together, and the fourth was adding the finishing details.” As a result, Valstar was able to consistently craft garments of exceptional standards due to its detail-orientated and efficient manner of production.
Bozzalla summarises the brand by saying, “Valstar has two souls”. By this, he means that there are two iconic pieces that underline the brand’s identity. The most famous one is the ‘Valstarino’, which is a short blouson that’s a luxe-iteration of the A-1 flight jacket that was standardised by the U.S. Airforce in 1927. Cut short, with an elastic waistband and cuffs with two hip pockets, it’s then fastened with horn buttons. The originals were crafted from sturdy, hard-wearing leathers, but Valstar saw potential in its silhouette and the fact it offered more room for experimentation with luxurious fabrics, such as goat suede and soft deerskin with top-level finishing. In 2017, The Rake Atelier launched two versions of the Valstarino, in chocolate brown and dark blue, which work wonderfully with both casual and formal ensembles.