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The Fashion Memo

Get dressed with Thora Valdimars

With a deliciously playful look, Danish stylist-turned-designer (and sunglasses devotee) THORA VALDIMARS has long been flying the flag for feel-good fashion. Now, as one half of breakthrough brand ROTATE Birger Christensen (the label she founded with her BFF Jeanette Friis Madsen), she’s inspiring the rest of us to inject our own closets with a little joy. Here’s how she does it…

Say it with flowers
From energising color to playful print: Valdimars matches her outfits to her attitude

Dress for your mood

“When I’m putting together an outfit, I start with a vibe. It’s all about how I feel when I wake up, which can be anything from ‘I want to be comfortable today,’ so I’ll wear a tracksuit and sneakers, to ‘I feel good and I want people to notice me today!’ When I style an outfit quickly I know it’s going to be good. It just feels right. Sometimes I have pieces that I want to wear, and I spend the longest time trying to figure out what they’d work with. But, for me, when it takes that much effort it never really looks as good. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. I have loads of style icons, but what unites them all is how they’re true to themselves. From my contemporaries like Jeanette Friis Madsen and Aleali May to icons like Cher, Lauren Hutton and Goldie Hawn. I love Goldie, she’s such a good example of someone whose attitude, clothes and aura are perfectly aligned. Back in the day she would just wear Levi’s that fit her perfectly with a simple tank and that incredible smile and look totally effortless but unbelievably beautiful.”


Pack your favorites

“I’m vacationing in the States this summer. My son is playing basketball in Las Vegas so I’ll be going for a sporty-mom vibe there, but once I get to Palm Springs my look will be more feminine. My style doesn’t really change that much when I’m on vacation. I know some people think fashion is superficial, but I think it can really put you in a certain mood, and if I wear something I feel uncomfortable in it can ruin my day. So when I go on vacation, of course I relax, but I still love to get dressed up. I want to go for a lovely lunch and put on a ROTATE dress with strappy sandals and a cute bag. When I look my best, I feel my best.”

Hold out for great pieces

“My dad is a watchmaker. He and my mum have been in the jewelry business since before I was born, so I know the importance of great quality and craftmanship. It means I buy less and sometimes have to wait a bit before I can purchase the pieces I want, but I don’t mind. I love the detail and intricacy that goes into real gold, silver and diamond pieces. I have one ring, a white gold band with diamonds, that I always wear. It’s from my parents’ store and I’ve had it for years.”

Pal power
Valdimars with friend and business partner Jeanette Friis Madsen

Dress up to enjoy life

“Danish style has come a long way in the last few years. We used to be synonymous with ‘Scandi minimalism’ but now we’re known for our use of color and prints and mixing high and low elements, like wearing sneakers with dresses or high heels with track pants. Jeanette and I have worked in fashion for so long and there was always this unwritten rule that you could only wear black or other muted colors. If you wore anything remotely ‘out there’ people would be whispering about it. But eventually we realized that we don’t care what people think. We love the idea that our designs can make a woman really sparkle. We are both working mums with demanding jobs so when we go out we don’t want to wear the same thing we wore to work; we want to dress up and enjoy life. We want to wear something short and sexy and dance all night. After all, you only live once.”

Pick and mix
Valdimars' eclectic style encompasses a range of silhouettes and a bold use of color

Listen to other women

“There are so many labels I love. Givenchy is great at the moment, particularly the accessories; I think Clare [Waight Keller] has really perfected a powerful yet wearable aesthetic. Isabel Marant is the same – her designs are sporty and feminine all at the same time, perfect for modern women with busy lives. That balance is at the forefront of mine and Jeanette’s minds when we’re designing new collections for ROTATE. For instance, if a dress is really short, we’ll make sure that it has sleeves or a sophisticated neckline; those are my favorite styles because I love getting my legs out but prefer to go for a more modest look on top. We spent a lot of time listening to our friends and family because we wanted to create fun, comfortable, empowering pieces that women feel are missing from their closets.”

Accentuate your natural assets

“When it comes to makeup, I go for a very natural look. I love highlighters and light foundations that allow my skin to breathe. For me, the best products are the subtle ones that make it look like I’m not even wearing makeup. I have freckles and I don’t want to hide them. I think it’s important to embrace the skin you have. I’m the same with my haircare: I’ve got really straight, flat hair and I used to spend hours curling and tonging it to try and create volume – I even got a perm at one point – but then ten years ago I had this realization that instead of fighting with my hair, I should work with it. Now I do so little to it and it feels way healthier. Usually I just pop in a leave-in conditioner after I wash it and let it air dry, although during fashion week I give myself a mini blow-dry to make it extra sleek.”

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.