The Italian designer who gave his name to a color: Valentino Red, like Ferrari. Valentino Garavani is “The Last Emperor”, so he was defined in an American documentary about his life. Determined and passionate, like his color, he was always supported by his family, who never doubted his talent. And rightly so, given his extraordinary career.
If you think of an Italian designer to mention, one of the first names that will come to mind is Valentino. We have heard of him since the time of the dolce vita, when all the stars of the international jet set looked to Rome. Born in Voghera in 1932, he immediately studied with the best until the last important recognition that the European parliament gave him in 2018, naming him Man of Fashion and Peace. It was the ’91, there was the Gulf War, when he designed a long white dress with the word PACE in 14 languages. That dress was an expression of Valentino’s art in those dark moments.
Valentino loves women
His dream has a characteristic: he loves creating clothes for women. ” In ewverything else I am a real disaster”, as he himself stated. His clothes are designed for them. He loves them.
From the time when he designed the wedding dress for Jacqueline Bouvier, widow Kennedy on the occasion of her second marriage with Onassis. In those years, she was the most prominent woman in the world, he was Aristotle Onassis, a Greek magnate with a stormy life. Jackie had an impeccable taste and chose Valentino to design the dress that would have all eyes on her. Her wedding dress will dictate the style of the second one for generations. For her, he revolutionized the way to go to the altar, chose the white but blended it towards the ivory. Unlike the first time, the dress was high-necked but short, letting the 1960s burst in without affecting the taste. Other famous brides followed the example.
We cannot fail to mention other brides who have contributed to making our Valentino even more famous. Jennifer Lopez, Lavinia Borromeo, Claudia Shiffer, Clotilde Courau, Pamela Anderson, Princess Maxima of Holland, Marie -Chantal of Greece. There are many celebrities, actresses, princesses and models who have chosen the genius and refinement of Italian high fashion. What distinguishes a true fashion designer from others? What determines the choice of women of the caliber of Jennifer Lopez? Probably it’s the love for the female figure, which Valentino always expresses through his clothes.
The beginnings and his private life
He was born on May, 11th 1932, whose zodiac sign is Taurus, therefore stubborn and passionate. He wanted to study fashion and with the full support of his parents he enrolled at the Santa Marta fashion institute in Milan, where he attended a course to become a designer. The dream becomes even bigger and asks to move to Paris to improve and study. Even at this request his parents do not oppose and indeed encourage him to enroll in the prestigious Chambre syndacal de la Haute Couture parisienne. It is the turning point, he studies French, he works for Guy Laroche, then he decides, always with the support of the family, that his destiny is to open a boutique of his own. It was opened in 1959 in Via Condotti in Rome.
His Alter Ego: Giancarlo Giammetti
The sentimental and working partnership with a young architecture student, Giancarlo Giammetti, rose in those years. He will join the company after Garavani’s father, to make a contribution that will determine the final push to get Valentino into the fashion Olympus. His real baptism was in 1962, when Valentino had the opportunity to show at the Pitti Palace. The last space proposed by Marquis Giorgini is the last day, the last hour: Take it or leave it.
The fashion show will be a triumph
Giancarlo Giammetti recalls in an interview: “We spent the night writing orders”. It is to this man, to whom Valentino is deeply attached, that he dedicates a public recognition of devotion and affection. “Without Monsieur Giammetti, all this would not have been possible,” says Valentino, speaking of the Maison, which today is a multinational. In fact no one more than Giancarlo Giammetti has been close to the Italian designer in his professional and private life.
The star of the Maison shone high immediately. We mention only some of the greatest awards obtained by the designer, President Pertini appoints him as Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, a few years later he will also be appointed Knight of Grand Cross by President Cossiga. In America, they are literally in love with him. Los Angeles, New York and Washington open the doors to him. Already in 1967 he was awarded two prizes: the Neiman Marcus Award from Dallas, equivalent to the Fashion Oscar, and the Palm Beach Martha Award. In 2005 he was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest honor awarded by the French republic, which is rarely granted to non-French characters.
In 2017, Valentino announces his retirement from the fashion world. Declares, with the usual grace and elegance: “It is the perfect time to say goodbye“. Today the brand is owned by the financial company Mayhoola for Investments of Qatar. The imprint left by the master is in any case indelible. Never was a crack seen in the image of this extraordinary man, except when he signed the sale of the Maison: taken by the cameras, everyone could see, with a certain dismay, the designer’s tears as he separated from his creation. The human face of the Last Emperor.