For Milena Natanov, architecture influences her designs. Her label Valentina and Valentia brings a delicate touch across generations. Expect to see lavish fabrics with thoughtful silhouettes at the Independent Designer Runway Show on September 22.

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Designer Milena Natanov. Image via Milena Natanov 

What inspires your designs?
From the moment (2 years) ago we established Valentina and Valentia it was clear the brand’s DNA is going to include ethereal pure silk and modern femininity. These two allow us to create Freedom. In my own life, freedom is the only form of existence. Freedom to have education, freedom to make your own choices, freedom to be who you want to be on your own rights. It’s not always obvious, but I think travel is the biggest form of inspiration. I travel a lot. Last year I traveled once a month both in the U.S. and outside. This fuels me with new ideas, gives me new perspective. Very often architecture or architectural details become the basis of our collections. But then there is also art. I think Erte has the biggest influence on me. His distinct, strong and very unique style has been following my heart for a long time.

Who would you like to dress and why?
Dasha Veledeeva, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Russia and Harper’s Bazaar Art was wearing silk dresses from our SS16 collection. She definitely represents the Valentina and Valentia woman. Smart, hard-working, professional, independent, side of her. Adventurous, fun, experiencing life to its fullest...the other side. Ethereal and feminine outside, but strong inside.

How would you describe your label?
A combination of sophisticated architectural lines, tender color palette and recognizable ethereal soft silhouettes define unique Valentina and Valentia aesthetic.

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Image via Milena Natanov

Where is your studio and how does that environment help your design process?
The actual production happens in our Atelier in Israel. The Atelier is located in the heart of Haifa, minutes away from famous breathtakingly beautiful golden dome of Bahá’í Gardens. My mom, Heli, my partner in crime and the founder of Valentina and Valentia, manages all aspects of production and works with our artisans. These people truly have golden hands! I am the one responsible for creative and visual work. I can work from anywhere. Very often I do draft sketches when in the car. But final sketches get produced in my studio, where I really can focus on the details. Usually I send watercolored fashion sketches along with very detailed specification for each item and look to the Atelier. This helps to reduce our Skype meetings when production starts.

What hobbies do you have outside of work?

How long have you been and designer and what moment did you realize this is what you were meant to do? 
I have been drawing and sketching since I can remember. That was my true passion since a very young age. During my university years I was taking art classes each summer. From graphite, to water color, to oil painting, I was exploring it all. Even after university I was taking art classes. Roughly, I have studied art for three years. Now we joke that I’m painting with silk.