Valentino, the king of fashion turns 90

Time passes for everyone, but not for Valentino. The designer who has dressed generations of Hollywood stars in his dream dresses is about to turn 90.
Valentino Garavani, Last Emperor of Fashion, celebrates 11 May in Rome its memorable 90 years old, surrounded by the closest friends. His dream clothes, always made with passion and commitment, have made him one of the greatest representatives of Made in Italy at an international level.
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani turns 90 memorable years and will celebrate in Rome, surrounded by his closest friends. Among these the inseparable life and business partner Giancarlo Giammetti. Location designated to host the party will probably be his villa on the Via Appia Antica. There is no woman, of any age, who has not dreamed of wearing something in that magic of hers Red.
Beside him also Daniela Giardina, historical spokesperson for the designer, the Brazilian brothers Sean and Anthony de Souza and their parents Carlos Souza and the Brazilian socialite Charlene Shorto de Ganay, both former Valentino’s pierre. Valentino and Giammetti are Anthony and Sean’s godparents.
“Valentino has not been granting interviews lately – explains Daniela Gardina on the phone with ANSA – to avoid contacts, but also to avoid creating dangerous gatherings.


Valentino Garavano: life and career of the great Italian designer
Born in Voghera, Valentino has contributed substantially to making “made in Italy” great in the world with the homonymous brand. High fashion for men and women, accessories, perfumes and pret-a-porter, is the undisputed symbol of Italian elegance and refinement on an international level. Second child, after older sister Wanda, of Mauro Garavani and Teresa de Biaggi, from a very young age Valentino was attracted to the fashion and sartorial creativity of the Vogherese stylist Ernestina Salvadeo; he therefore attended a school of fashion designs in Milan and at the same time studied French at the Berlitz School.
He travels abroad, spends a long period in Paris where he studies stylism all‘École de La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. In the fifties he joined the French capital as a collaborator in the fashion house of Jean Dessès and in the atelier of Guy Laroche. When he returns to Italy, he becomes a pupil of Emilio Schuberth in Rome and then a collaborator in Vincenzo Ferdinandi’s atelier.



In 1957 the foundation of the Valentino fashion house arrives together with some partners, including the father; the management of the company, however, is complicated at the beginning, and is resolved only with the arrival of Giancarlo Giammetti. Valentino begins to deal exclusively with the creative aspect, leaving the shareholder – and beloved companion, for life – the financial aspect: it is the beginning of a partnership that works and that will take the company to the top and the stylist to a global success.
In 1959 he opens a new atelier in Rome in via dei Condotti, in 1962, after the triumph of his first collection at Pitti Moda in Florence, he is one of the most appreciated and popular couturiers in the world. In 1967 he was awarded the Neiman Marcus Award in Dallas, in the same year he designed the uniforms for TWA flight attendants and presented the first Valentino Men’s collection. It was 1968 when, now a star, he invented the famous “V”, and created the wedding dress for the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier widow Kennedy, his historical friend, with the Greek shipowner Onassis. The era of brand internationalization begins: in the seventies ateliers open in Paris, Tokyo, Geneva, New York and Lausanne.
In the 1971 Valentino is portrayed by the American painter Andy Warhol, the perfume that bears his name was born – and which became a great classic, followed in 1991 by the perfume “Vendetta” -; in 1985 he received the decoration of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit from the President of the Republic. The following year he received the title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce, while in 1996 he was nominated Cavaliere del Lavoro; in July 2006 he was awarded the Legion of Honor.
Between the 80s and 90s he designs clothes for the most beautiful and important women in the world. During that time he befriends Princess Diana, for whom he will create several dresses. In the 1997 Lady Dianain fact, she appeared on the cover of Vogue UK wearing one of the famous Valentino Red dresses.
In the following years the company underwent several changes, including the acquisition by HdP in 1998 and the Marzotto Group in 2002. Valentino remained the only creative director and main face of the brand he created. One of the most memorable moments in his life is represented by 2001 Oscars Ceremonyduring which Julia Roberts collect the coveted statuette wearing one of her creations, the famous black and white retro dress.

His brand, now at the top of international fashion, was sold in 1998 to the German house HDP and then taken over in 2002 by Marzotto Group. Moved to the Permira fund and finally in 2012 ended up with the wife of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, through the Mayhoola for Investments company.
The September 4, 2007 Valentino says goodbye to fashion, and to his label, which after over 45 years, will no longer make use of his creativity: to replace him Alessandra Facchinetti, stylist sister of DJ Francesco. Five months later, Matteo Marzotto leaves the presidency and after two seasons Facchinetti leaves the company.
In 2016, the designer was in charge of the production and design of the costumes for the opera of La Traviata, directed by Sofia Coppola. To date, in the company of his five pugs Molly, Maggie, Margot, Maude and Monty, Valentino continues to work on commissioned dresses all over the world. Often these are wedding dresses, like the one designed for actress Anne Hathaway. On 11 May the king of fashion and the inventor of ROSSO VALENTINO will celebrate his first 90 years.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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