Model, musician, creative, passionate about vintage... Carly Russ Peterson, also known as Cici Valentine, is a multi-faceted artist with a unique style who has merged her two worlds: fashion and music.
Born in Chicago but based in Los Angeles, she formed an indie band with her husband Dylan called Valentine.
Carly is also the founder of her own vintage label, Vintage Valentine, an online fashion boutique whose concept is to dress for Valentine's Day in the 70s, 80s or 90s.
She is baby Teddy's mom.
You started your career as a model, then you became a talented musician and you founded a fashion brand. Can you tell us more about your background and history?
I started modeling when I was 14, so about 17 years ago! and throughout my career I've been able to incorporate all my hobbies and segue into those more full time. Music being one of them, I make music with my husband, Dylan, and it's just so fun to be able to do that with the love of your life. My love for fashion also goes deep, sustainable fashion in particular has always been a big passion of mine so I started doing vintage more seriously in 2018 after I had been doing it casually since I was young. I figured why not make a business out of something I love doing so much. That's when Vintage Valentine was born. You could say I've got my fingers in a few different pots, which is what I prefer to stay busy… I like to have a few things going to peak my creativity.
Cici Valentine is your alter ego in Valentine, the band you formed with your partner Dylan. How would you define your music?
Our music has got a romantic feel with a sense of melancholic sadness that makes you want to listen while driving in the rain. It's definitely a 90's feel, Mazzy star is one of our biggest influences.
You have launched your own vintage fashion online store, Vintage Valentine. Could you tell us more about it?
Vintage Valentine's whole ethos started as your best Valentine's Day oufit and has kind of evolved into things I truly would wear every day, staple pieces if you will. I kind of try to stay away from “trendy” pieces. I want my pieces to be something that stays in your closet forever so I try to seek those out when I'm sourcing.
How did your love for vintage start?
Oh man I discovered thrifting when I was about 13 years old with my Aunt who loves a good estate sale. It really was all downhill from there for me because I became absolutely obsessed. The high of finding a one-of-a-kind piece still keeps me going to this day. I just really love how vintage pieces have a story behind them, you don't know who owned the piece before but you make up a little story in your head. Not to mention you're the only one getting to wear it, no one else has that piece. Another bonus, recycling clothes is good for our earth. What else do you need?
What is your favorite band or solo artist?
I could listen to Kurt Vile on repeat for months and months, in fact, we basically do at our house lol.
Do you have any fashion icons?
Fran Drescher's character in the Nanny.How did you take care of yourself during your pregnancy?
I walked every single day when I was pregnant. Walking during your pregnancy is so good for your chances of a shorter labor. I also juiced every week. My daily juice in the morning consisted of beets, celery, parsley and loads of ginger.
How would you define your style? Do you have any fashion tips for pregnant women?
My style has really evolved the last few years especially getting pregnant. I'd say my style is anything that's easy to throw on but I still make it colorful and interesting, and if not a pop of color then it has to be a special print! Full disclosure- my pregnancy style was definitely a growing pain to figure out who this “new me” was. Finally halfway through my pregnancy is when I figured out what worked for me and what made me feel confident. Biggest tip I have for pregnant women is- ditch the tight clothing (you'll thank yourself later) and find as many elastic waist pants and shorts you can, those saved me when nothing else fit! And they come in handy in your postpartum too.
What doyou enjoy most about being a mom?
I really feel like I've found my purpose being a Mom. He affirms my entire existence, gives me something to live for every day. I'm not saying it isn't hard, cuz it really can be at times. But the most rewarding feeling is when he smiles at me or hits a milestone. Being able to be front row seat to that, it's extraordinary.
Who inspires you as a mom?
I know it's cliche but my mom really is my biggest inspiration. She taught me everything I know about health and taking care of myself, and everything that comes naturally to me as a mother, is because of her. She was the greatest example growing up to what a mom truly is. I'm so lucky to call her my mom and to continue this legacy of beautiful, gentle mothering.
Which Josefina pattern did you choose and why?
I chose the polka dot bag, because I'm a big leopard print gal. I saw it and new it needed to be mine!
What's in your Josefina?
I have ample amounts of extra diapers, a change of clothing for him just in case of a blowout, some toys, and some snacks for me when I'm done feeding him.