Valentino

16 Oct

Valentino-001

‘’I know what women want. They want to be beautiful.’’

Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, known simply as Valentino, was born in Voghera, Italy on May 11 1932. The designer studied fashion design from a young age. He discovered his interest while in primary school. He apprenticed under local designers including his aunt. His formal training took place at the renowned ‘École des Beaux-Arts’ and the ‘Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne’ in Paris.

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His first choice for an apprenticeship, in Paris, was Jacques Fath, then Balenciaga. He found an apprenticeship with Jean Desses where he helped style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes sketch her dress ideas. He then joined Guy Laroche for two years. At Jean Desses, Valentino sketched furiously, between helping with window dressing and greeting clients for the daily 2:30 pm private showings. He was constantly learning, practising and perfecting his art.

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In 1959 Valentino returned to Italy to set up in Rome with the help of his parents. He opened his fashion house in 1960 on the exclusive Via Condotti. He got backing from his father and an associate of his. The premises resembled a real “maison de couture,” it being very much along the lines of what Valentino had seen in Paris: everything was very grand and models flew in from Paris for his first show. Valentino became known for his red dresses, in the bright shade that became known in the fashion industry as “Valentino red.”

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Valentino’s international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, the Italian fashion capital of the time. His first show at the Pitti Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was deluged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press.

After the breakthrough show in Florence, Valentino began dressing the ladies of the international best-dressed crowd, such as his acquaintance from the Paris years Countess Jacqueline de Ribes and New York socialites Babe Paley and Jayne Wrightsman.

Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti at the Café de Paris on the Via Veneto, Rome in 1960. Giammetti was in his second year of architecture school, living at home with his parents in Northern Rome. That day Giammetti gave Valentino a lift home in his Fiat and a friendship, as well as a long-lasting partnership, started. The day after, Giammetti was to leave for Capri for vacation and, by coincidence, Valentino was also going there, so they met again on the island 10 days later. Giammetti would shortly thereafter abandon the University to become Valentino’s business partner. When Giammetti arrived, the business situation of Valentino’s atelier was in fact not brilliant: in one year he had spent so much money that his father’s associate pulled out of the business, and had to fight against bankruptcy.

Valentino’s international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, the Italian fashion capital of the time. His first show at the Pitti Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was deluged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press.

After the breakthrough show in Florence, Valentino began dressing the ladies of the international best-dressed crowd, such as his acquaintance from the Paris years Countess Jacqueline de Ribes and New York socialites Babe Paley and Jayne Wrightsman.

By the mid-1960s he was already considered the undisputed maestro of Italian Couture, receiving in 1967 the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, the equivalent of an Oscar in the field of fashion. The Begum Aga Khan, Farah Diba, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwill, Queen Paola of Belgium, Babe Paley, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Jayne Wrightsman, Marisa Berenson, Veruschka and Princess Margaret were already customers as well as personal friends.

At some point in 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy had seen Gloria Schiff, the twin sister of the Rome-based fashion editor of American Vogue and Valentino’s friend Consuelo Crespi, wearing a two-piece ensemble in black organza at a gathering. It made such an impression that Kennedy contacted Ms. Schiff to learn the name of the ensemble’s designer, which was Valentino. In September 1964, Valentino was to be in the United States to present a collection of his work at a charity ball at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Mrs. Kennedy wanted to view the collection but could not attend the event, so Valentino decided to send a model, sales representative and a selection of key pieces from his collection to Mrs. Kennedy’s apartment on Fifth Avenue. Mrs. Kennedy ordered six of his haute couture dresses, all in black and white, and wore them during her year of mourning following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. From then on, she was a devoted client and would become a friend. Valentino would later design the white dress worn by Kennedy at her wedding to Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

Throughout the 1970s Valentino spent considerable time in New York City, where his presence was embraced by society personalities such as Vogue’s editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland and the art icon Andy Warhol.

In 1998 Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti sold the company for approximately US$300 million to HdP, an Italian conglomerate controlled, in part, by the late Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat. In 2002, Valentino S.p.A., with revenues of more than $180 million, was sold by HdP to Marzotto Apparel, a Milan-based textile giant, for $210 million. Valentino remained actively involved with the company throughout these changes in ownership.

However on September 4, 2007, Valentino announced that he would retire fully in January 2008[3] from the world stage after his last haute couture show in Paris. He delivered his last women’s ready-to-wear show in Paris on 4 October.

His last haute couture show was presented in Paris at the Musée Rodin on January 23, 2008. It received a standing ovation from the entire audience that included hundreds of notable names from all areas of show business. Many models returned to show for Valentino’s last haute couture show, including Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Nadja Auermann, Karolina Kurkova and Karen Mulder.

January 24, 2008, Valentino was presented with the Medal of the City of Paris for his services to fashion in the city where he was educated.

Valentino and Giammetti maintain homes around the world, including villas in Spain, France and Switzerland. These homes are filled with art, which they avidly collect. Valentino has a penchant for dogs, particularly pugs—of which he owns many.

The RED Valentino Spring/Summer 2014 collection opened the doors of New York Fashion Week with an air of romanticism on September 4th 2013. The collection from the younger sister line of legendary Italian fashion house Valentino took one’s breath away with the fairy-tale like dresses, sugary colors and ethereal floral prints that clearly define the upcoming spring/summer 2014 fashion trends.

 

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The Valentino Rockstud.

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One Response to “Valentino”

  1. funkyfashion007 September 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    I always loved Valentino as a designer but never knew his backstory. Thanks for posting! 🙂

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