The nickname the world of fashion gave him is “Emperor”, but he defined himself “a tailor”: we’re talking about Valentino, a man whose name has been synonym of elegance for 45 years and that still continues to be one of the most admired fashion designers of all times.
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani – that’s his complete name- was born in Voghera in 1932 and met the world of fashion when he was only 17, after winning a contest that lead him to Paris. In the capital of France, Valentino took part in an apprenticeship at Jean Desses’s atelier and after some times at Guy Laroche’s one, where he could learn all the secrets of design and tailoring and refine his early talent. In just one decade he became a skillful and competent professional ready to leave France and go back to Italy to open his own atelier in Rome, at only 28, in the years of the Dolce Vita.
Although he was incredibly talented and provided with a strong creative charge, he didn’t have a great attitude for business and his first company failed soon. In 1960, though, Valentino gave life to his maison, but this time he exclusively took care of the creative part, while his partner Giancarlo Giammetti managed the administrative tasks.
From that moment Valentino’s name found its place among the protagonists of fashion and his career took flight and never arrested. The secret behind his unstoppable success is the creation of stunning pieces of clothing, of course, but also the adoption of a style that Valentino maintained throughout the years and that the audience always proved to love.
His style results to be timeless, chic and always up with the times and with women’s taste and desires. As he has told in some occasions, he has never really been interested in revolutionizing fashion, but only in making women feel beautiful in his dresses. Indeed Valentino achieved his goal: he has always expressed his best in haute couture dresses that beautiful women have worn. His collections are characterized by an elegant style that reflects the way Valentino see women: chic, provocative just enough and self-confident.
But there’s something that has determined a great part of Valentino’s success: the so-called Valentino Red, a unique tone that the designer created and that’s immediately been associated to his name. Valentino Red, a constant symbol of the designer throughout years and collections, was born by an intuition the stylist had during a travel to Spain: while attending opera, the red costumes the actors were wearing on stage gave him inspiration for a new shade. The result of that intuition was a color that resembles magenta, purple and red pink but that’s absolutely unique.
It’s a shade that suits almost every woman, but it’s so particular that Valentino has saved it for his most amazing creations. And it’s not a case that only the most elegant women in the world have worn a Rosso Valentino dress: Jacqueline Kennedy, Sophia Lauren, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor. In most recent times other celebrities have undergone the fascination of Valentino Red and wore it on red carpets and exclusive galas: Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts and many others.
After extending his activity to prêt a porter collections and creating perfumes and accessories lines, in 2007, 45 years after he founded his maison, Valentino retired from the world of fashion, saying goodbye with three days of parties, runways, shows and exhibitions throughout Rome. His final years of activity are illustrated in The last emperor, a documentary the director Matt Tyrnauer has shot on Valentino.