When I showed Bijougraphie for the first time in Montreal at Pop Montreal's Puces Pop Fair (with thanks to Julie Deault of Hazel and Hunter), I had the good fortune of befriending tabling neighbour Julia Vallelunga of La Raffinerie. She might not remember this, but Julia basically quelled my slight (and typical-for-a-rookie) anxieties as a novice tabler with her two cents to every and any question I had about navigating my way through the independent designer circuit in Montreal.
Almost two years since the humble encounter (and subsequent ones in between like borrowing/lending ladders and pens with each other during set-up at events like Smart Design Mart and a doing a Q&A on her fashion site, À la mode Montreal), news that Anthropologie picked up two styles of La Raffinerie's statement necklaces –currently available now (see it online here)–, is pretty rad representation for us small-time Montreal designers. I catch up with Julia, fresh from participating in Festival Mode et Design Montreal and hosting Anthropologie's designers on a tour of Mile End and her studio, to share with you, dear reader, a few things more about this Montreal designer who's making us proud!
Mercedes: Who are you and what do you do?
Julia: I'm Julia Vallelunga, La Raffinerie Jewelry designer and fashion blogger for À la mode Montréal
Mercedes: When people see La Raffinerie jewelry, they should think...
Julia: Colorful and original.
Mercedes: So, the breaking news with La Raffinerie is that two of its statement pieces are being sold in Anthropologie. Congratulations, it's so exciting that a Montreal designer's made it to a great fashion staple! How did this happen?
Julia: Thank you! It was a great experience that I hope will happen again next year. I just contacted them and sent some pictures. I thought my style matched well with their clothing.
Mercedes: How did you react to discovering that Anthropologie wanted to carry La Raffinerie?
Julia: I was totally surprised they answered! I got an answer an hour after I sent an email. Let say I wasn’t 100% ready, but you always need that big order to know what to improve.
Mercedes: Now that you've collaborated with Anthropologie, which designer/s or companies would you love to do collaborations with?
Julia: I hope to collaborate again with Anthropologie but I also love Madewell and JCrew clothing.
Mercedes: What's a La Raffinerie piece that you're proud of?
Julia: I like the new velvet ribbon I’ve been using for my Fall collection.
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Mercedes: What are a few of the trends / things / events / people that interest you right now?
Julia: I’m a big fan of statement necklaces. I hope they stay in fashion for a long time! I also like the ethnic trend and the 70s.
Mercedes: What's your favourite colour combination?
Julia: Presently, I’m a big fan of blue and black. I also love yellow this season. I’ve been mixing yellow with darker colors.
Mercedes: So you're not only a jewelry designer, you're also the founder of a Montreal online style resource, Á la Mode Montreal. What made you decide to start a Montreal fashion site?
Julia: I founded À la mode Montréal two years ago. At that time, there wasn’t any big blog on fashion in Montreal. I was inspired by Refinery29 and DailyCandy.
Mercedes: What are the top five posts people should be looking at on À la Mode Montreal right now?
Anthropologie + Montreal
Guide deco vintage
Leçons de coiffure > A cup of Jo
Qu’est-ce que le deadstock?