Fusing fashion with music has always been something Cici Valentine wanted to pursue. Now her love affair with ’80s and ’90s music and her ever-expanding collection of vintage clothes find their perfect match in her latest venture, a psychedelic ‘90s band called Valentine.
Valentine arrives on set wearing a thrifted floral jacket that vibes perfectly with the Hawaiian motifs in R13’s latest collection. She’s immediately smitten. “I absolutely love prints, and I don’t shy away from bright colors,” she says, her fingers grazing the mix of prints, tees, and denim on the rack. “My personal style is ever-changing. One day I may wear head-to-toe color, and another I’ll pare down a really sparkly dress with combat boots. There’s really no boundaries with me.”
Valentine lights up as she steps in front of the camera in the first look of the day. She started modeling in her early teens, and her fascination with fashion eventually led her toward music. “My first real foray into performing was with my last band, Girlyboi. We had a nice long run, but I feel like it was a stepping stone into my next project,” she shares. “I’d describe the sound as sort of psychedelic ‘90s rock with influence from Mazzy Star, who I grew up listening to. With Valentine, I feel more in control of my branding; plus, the music we’re creating feels nostalgic and comfortable.”
The name Cici Valentine is her alias and comes from a childhood nickname, and she also uses it to brand her vintage curation. “When I started sourcing vintage this summer, I thought of a confident girl from the ‘80s or ‘90s who really just dresses up for herself and not a love interest,” she explains. “Valentine’s Day can be pretty two-sided, but I see it as an empowering thing. So the name comes from that concept, and it’s how the music really started.”
Similarly, R13’s latest collection references motifs from decades past, surf rock, and psychedelic tie-dye, and they even have Grateful Dead T-shirts and jackets. Valentine changes into a robe trimmed with a leopard print and begins twirling as she feverishly explores a wall of old vinyl. “Leopard’s become a neutral for me these days, and I’m really happy about that.”
As for her music, Valentine says it’s really a collaboration with her partner, Dylan Peterson. “He writes the beginning of a song, and I finish the melody, so it’s a really nice balance, and then we write the lyrics together.” The band plans to release an EP in fall 2019, but they are enjoying the full process. “We eventually hope to sell vintage at our performances, too, and again, that’s where the fashion and music combine. Who doesn’t like shopping at a show?”
For the last shot of the day, the musician takes to the stage in a leopard blazer with matching bottoms. She seems transported as she moves to the music, perfectly embodying the strong female image that both Valentine and the collection represents.