“I am always locked in my design studio.”
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Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani (1932), known to the world as Valentino, is a fashion designer from Italy and the founder of Valentino S.p.A. His major collections include R.E.D Valentino, Valentino Roma, Valentino Garavani, and simply Valentino as well.
In his primary school, Valentino became interested in the field of fashion when he did an apprenticeship under a local designer and his aunt, Emestina Salvadeo. In order to pursue his aspiration to become a designer, Valentino shifted to Paris with the help of his parents, Mauro Garavani and Teresa de Biaggi. In Paris, he went to École des Beaux-Arts and Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. For the purpose of internships, he first worked with Jacques Fath, and later with Balenciaga. Then he began his job at Jean Dresses for five years and aided Jacqueline de Ribes, an icon of style, to sketch her ideas of dresses. Next, for two years he worked at Guy Laroche‘s boutique.
After having discussions with his parents, he returned to Italy and established his business in 1959 in Via Condotti, Rome. In 1960, he came across Giancarlo Giammetti, who eventually became Valentino’s romantic and business partner for above fifty years. At the time, Valentino’s company was not doing a brilliant job and the designer had to fight from being bankrupt after the associate of his father pulled money out of the business. However, within two years, Valentino and Giammetti flourished the business. In 1962, Valentino displayed his collection for the first time in Florence at an international fashion show where buyers from around the world deluged Valentino with their orders. This breakthrough in the career led Valentino to making outfits for socialites like Jayne Wrightsman and Babe Paley. Towards the mid-60s, he became Italian dressmaking maestro and in 1967 received the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, which is equal to an Oscar in the fashion industry. Valentino’s customer list included names, such as Princess Margaret, Veruschka, Marisa Berenson, Elizabeth Taylor, Farah Diba, Begum Aga Khan, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Marella Agnelli, Gloria Guinness, Belgium’s Queen Paola, Audrey Hepburn and many more.
In 2007, the designer announced a year earlier about his retirement and displayed his last ready-to-wear collection in 2008, Paris. Prior to this, in 2006, he made a guest appearance as himself in The Devil Wear Prada. Moreover, in the year of his last show, a documentary on Valentino premiered at Venice International Film Festival. The work was titled, Valentino: The Last Emperor.
Over the course of his career, many enchanting women inspired Valentino and became his friends. Whoever did become his good friends were also referred to as his family, such as Nati Abascal. All of Valentino’s friends and family travel together for vacations to his homes worldwide and to the yacht.
Other than this, Valentino is a dog lover and to the extent that he named one of this clothing collection after his dog, Oliver. The designer has six pugs and while travelling takes his entourage with him in three cars, distributing each among him and Giammetti, their luggage and their pugs.
Valentino’s interest also includes the collection of art and his home is embellished with art works by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Balthus, Cy Twomly, andPicasso. Giammetti and Valentino, both live flamboyantly and own multiple apartments and villas across the world. All their properties are decorated with exquisite art pieces. They are referred to as the kings of high-class living.