Galia Lahav knew exactly who she wanted as the face of her Fall 2020 bridal collection. The storied bridal designer, beloved amongst celebrities—even Beyonce wore a Galia Lahav couture gown for her vow renewal to Jay Z—wanted someone beautiful, confident and uninhibitedly herself to debut her designs. That woman was Valentina Sampaio, a 22-year old model from Brazil, who is also a transgender woman.
“Valentina’s essence embodies the whole idea of being a confident woman in the 21st Century,” Lahav tells The Knot in an exclusive statement. “Her mesmerizing beauty and confidence—in revealing her true self—represents the self-love and inspiration behind ‘Fancy White.’”
Fancy White is the name of the latest bridal collection from Galia Lahav, a designer whose name has become near eponymous with structural gowns comprised of luxurious silk, airy tulle and intricate additions of organza against expertly embellished beading mixed with rhinestones. Lahav’s latest line, which you can see in full here, includes hints of lavender, blush and ivory tones for an overall ethereal feel.
“Like light bouncing off of a brilliant diamond, our Fall 2020 bridal collection was inspired by the beauty that is reflected from within,” the press release from the brand reads. “This collection celebrates a woman’s essence and individuality. It’s about reflecting on who she is and connecting to what really matters to her, including what she wants for her wedding day.”
In August, Sampaio was thrusted into headlines after making history as the first openly-transgender model ever to star in a campaign for lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret. According to WWD, Sampaio first started her career in São Paulo Fashion Week. She’s now been tapped as a cover model for multiple international editions of Vogue as well as other campaigns.
This year has been memorable for retailers and brands with a select set of companies featuring trans narratives. Gillette created a ripple after releasing an ad in which a father emotionally shows his trans son the art of shaving. Express tapped Out Magazine editor Raquel Willis for its “Love Unites” campaign, which was splashed across billboards. “When I transitioned, Express was one of the brands I didn’t have to leave behind,” Willis told the blog in conjunction with its launch. “My style allows me to make a statement about who I am… My style allows me to own my womanhood.”
A series of firsts are currently being seen throughout the bridal industry, and certainly, representation from brands like Lahav is key to breaking barriers. “She was the perfect representation for personifying the woman who knows she is unique—inside and out,” the designer concludes.