Voghera, Lombardy, Italy
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The Paris years (1949 - 1959)
Valentino became interested in fashion while in middle school in his native Voghera, Lombardy, northern Italy, when he apprenticed under his aunt Rosa and local designer Ernestina Salvadeo, an aunt of noted artist Aldo Giorgini). At 17, Valentino moved to Paris to pursue this interest with the help of his mother Teresa de Biaggi and his father Mauro Garavani. There he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
His first choice in Paris was Jacques Fath, then Balenciaga. He then found apprentice jobs with Jean Desses where he used to help style icon countess Jacqueline de Ribes sketch her dress ideas. He then joined Guy Laroche for 2 years. At Desses, Valentino sketched furiously, between helping with window dressing and greeting clients for the daily 2:30 p.m. private showings. Most of his early sketches were lost. At a Rome exhibition in 1991 a smattering went on display and current clients at that time such as Marie Hélène de Rothschild and Elizabeth Taylor marveled that the DNA of Valentino`s style was already apparent in the layers of white pleats and animal prints.
A wedding dress by ValentinoAfter five years, Valentino left Jean Desses under a cloud over an incident about prolonging a vacation in St. Tropez that still makes him wriggle uncomfortably today. Rescued by his friend Guy Laroche, he joined his "tiny, tiny" fashion house. After discussions with his parents, he decided to return to Italy and set up in Rome in 1959.
Rome: la dolce vita and his encounter with Giancarlo Giammetti (1959 - 1962)
In 1959 Valentino left Paris and moved back to Italy with his lover, French socialite Gerald Nanty and opened a fashion house in Rome on the posh Via Condotti with the backing of his father and an associate of his. More than an atelier, the premises resembled a real "maison de couture", being it very much on the line 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".
On 31 July 1960 Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti at the Café de Paris on the Via Veneto in Rome. One of three children, Giammetti was in his second year of architecture school, living at home with his parents in the haut bourgeois Parioli section of Northern Rome. His father owned an electronics store near the Via Veneto. That day Giammetti gave Valentino a lift home in his little 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 in the island 10 days later. Giammetti would shortly after abandon the University for good to become Valentino`s business partner.
Giammetti`s entrepreneurial genius will prove fundamental to the worldwide expansion and success of the House. Thanks to Giammetti, Valentino was able to focus on the creative aspect of design leaving all business intricacies to Giammetti. 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, so that Valentino had to fight against bankruptcy. Valentino already had a passion for luxury and would spend too much money on expensive fabrics never thinking about the financial aspects of his fashion business.
Valentino and Giammetti were told to start a new company and so they did. Under Giammetti`s wing, Valentino`s business got under control and things were ready for international success.
Breakthrough in Florence (1962 - 1967)
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 submerged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press.
After the breakthrough show in Florence, Valentino started to dress 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.
In 1966, confident of his client base, he moved his shows from Florence to Rome and there, two years later, he had one of his greatest triumphs, an all-white collection, which became famous for the "V" logo he designed.
By the mid-1960s he was already considered the undisputed maestro of Italian Couture, receiving in 1967 the Neiman Marcus Award, the equivalent of an Oscar in the field of fashion. The Begum Aga Khan, Farah Diba, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Marella Agnelli and Princess Margaret were already customers as well as personal friends.
Getting Jackie (1964)
In 1964 Jacqueline Kennedy had
Couple Profile Source
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani (born 11 May 1932), best known as Valentino, is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the Valentino SpA brand and company. His main lines include Valentino, Valentino Garavani, Valentino Roma, and R.E.D. Valentino.
Full Name at Birth
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani
Valentino, Valentino SpA, Valentino Garavani, Valentino Roma, R. E. D. Valentino
Fashion designer, Actor
Claim to Fame
Show at the Pitti Palace
Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur
Brown - Light
Andy Warhol, Tommaso Ziffer, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Guy Laroche
Dog - Oliver (pug), Dog - Molly (pug), Dog - Milton (pug), Dog - Monty (pug), Dog - Margot (pug), Dog - Maude (pug), Dog - Maggie (pug)
Voghera, Capri, Lazio, Crespieres, Rome, Florence, Monaco, Milan, Paris, New York City, London
Black, White, Green, Blue, Red, Silver, Yellow, Grey, Brown
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