In partnership with Valentino
For artist Gretta Ray, the world is her stage. Each experience, interaction, moment in time culminating into something greater. A source of inspiration for an upcoming single, an opportunity to be brave and bold in her actions, a second to reflect. At only 23 years old, Ray knows that it's how we mark these moments that ultimately defines us. Steadied in her assurances and an unparalleled confidence in her actions, joy, strength and boldness are her pillars of success.
It's this same defined elegance in her relationship with others and herself that she shares with Valentino Garavani's newly-crowned It bag, the One Stud bag. Occupying a unique space as a sophisticated and straight-forward style that packs a statement punch, just like Ray and her personal style, the Valentino Garavani One Stud bag is an evolution of Valentino's iconic Roman Stud family. An iteration we're welcoming with open arms.
With detail and craftsmanship continuously at the forefront of Valentino's design ethos, the Valentino Garavani One Stud bag features reverse stitching construction that conceals the seams, soft nappa leather, a solid structure, and the unmistakable petit chain that distinguishes the Valentino Garavani accessories.
A bag that can take you anywhere, Ray and the Valentino Garavani One Stud collide – a powerful yet gentle exploration of personal style.
What’s the first thing people should know about you?
My name is Gretta, I’m from Melbourne, I’m a singer/songwriter, I’m 23, and I’m always late by like, 15 minutes to everything. It’s really annoying.
How do you use fashion and style to express yourself?
Recently, I’ve really enjoyed using fashion and my sense of style to express that I’m growing up. I’ve been in the music industry since I was 17 and my style has always been pretty safe and simple. However, over the past year or so I’ve been enjoying dressing with more elegance and opting for outfits that feel a little more sexy and feminine and, well, not 17! It’s a fun, playful way to express my confidence and to make me feel more like the woman I’m becoming, and less like the girl that I was.
You’re heading out and your schedule is packed – what are the non-negotiables you always have on hand?
Phone, wallet, AirPods, reusable water bottle, my journal and a pen.
The bravest thing you’ve ever done…
My acts of bravery usually surround wearing my heart on my sleeve. One of the bravest things I’ve done is recently perform a song at a dear friends funeral – the combination of grief while simultaneously wanting to honour my friend through song was tough! I’ve become accustomed to being quite vulnerable to a large group of people, and though I wouldn’t change that for the world because it allows me to have this job that I love, I would say it definitely takes courage.
Valentino Garavani’s One Stud bag is all about marrying the statement piece with everyday elegance. What’s your favourite way to style the piece?
I recently wore the Valentino Garavani One Stud bag out for the first time to the Rolling Stone Awards. I paired it with an all-black outfit, and since the bag is bright, hot pink, it felt more like a statement piece than ever! It felt elegant yet girly and fun; I loved getting to show it off.
Joy, strength, and boldness are characteristics which underpin the Valentino Rendez-Vous SS22 collection. Where do you source these qualities in your everyday? Is it internal, or external?
I love this. I’d say the majority of the time it starts internal, and can later become external, if that makes sense. I feel the strongest and most bold when I am in a writing session, because I’m doing the thing that I love – the thing that lights up my brain. If I become really excited about the song we are writing, uncontainable joy will follow shortly after. Walking home from a session, listening to a new demo and feeling really proud of the work I’ve done… I’m sure by that point, joy, strength and boldness would be external, in terms of how I’m holding myself! I do love expressing these characteristics through fashion too, but to dress boldly and joyously without allowing yourself to feel that way internally… I’m not sure if there would be much point. But also, on the flip side of that, faking it ’til you make it is totally a thing. If I’m feeling insecure and lethargic, I put on bold eye makeup and instantly feel better.
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Last year you released your debut studio album, Begin To Look Around. What’s the most important lesson you have learned through that process?
Releasing my debut album last year was such a rewarding moment in time. I had worked so hard on that album for so long, but I think the most important lesson that I learned was that releasing music, ultimately, is entirely not about me. Sure, the songs on that record were inspired by my life, and as I was writing them I leant on my creative process to heal from my own heartbreak. However, seeing how other people gravitated towards those songs, how they identified so closely with them once they were out in the world… it blew me away. The songs are theirs now. They reflect their experienced and their heartbreaks. I’m just lucky to play a part in their life stories through my music.
What does self-expression mean to you in 2022?
After a few slow years, 2022 is all about falling back in love with the things I’ve missed. Travel, performing, dancing with my friends, dinner parties, and having jam-packed days where you feel frantic yet accomplished. I think self-expression for me right now is based around keeping busy, nourishing my relationships and soaking up all of the goodness that comes with those things.
How do you find fresh sources of creativity in the most unassuming of places?
I believe that there can be inspiration in everything. For me, something that always sparks new ideas is a change of environment, or a change of pace. For example, I was really surprised by how inspired I felt during the earlier lockdowns in Melbourne in 2020. That unusual period of time that was so stunting in so many ways, opened my eyes and made me so much more grateful for the quiet. I wrote countless songs in 2020, despite the fact that my days were repudiative and we were only allowed out for an hour a day at times. It meant that every walk by the Merri Creek, every breakfast I had with my little sister, and every journal entry that I wrote had so much more weight to it. A very unassuming time to be inspired by!
PHOTOGRAPHY Bowen Aricò
HAIR Daren Borthwick @ The Artist Group
MAKEUP Joel Babicci @ Assembly Agency