Valentino, photo by Georges Biard, via Wikimedia Commons
(1932; Italy) His passion for fashion started when he was only a boy and after attending prestigious fashion design schools in Italy and in France, in 1950 he became the design assistant to couturier Jean Desses.
He moved to Guy Laroche in 1956 and in 1959 left Paris and moved back to Italy to work for Galitzine. After his experience at Galitzine he opened an atelier in Rome on the posh Via Condotti, but it was a failure.
His first 1962 fashion show was a true revelation and with his one-color collection, all in white, in 1967 he reached international fame. The collection was based on the use of all the different shades of white and light beige. It was very high level haute-couture and he was instantaneously known for his intricately detailed and luxurious gowns. Valentino brand became synonymous with elegance and extreme femininity. He is also well known for his prints inspired by Klimt or Bakst and his bows which became a symbol of femininity. His favorite tones are white, black and especially red; he became famous for his red dresses, in the bright shade known in the fashion industry as “Valentino red”. This shade is very bright and it’s a mixture of carmine red, purple and cadmium red. Valentino style reflects the personality of its creator, sober and refined, his care for details and his continuous search for beauty.
In 1969 Valentino added various ready-to-wear lines, including ones for men and young adults.
Over the years he became the designer of choice of innumerable celebrities, who still continue to wear Valentino.
From a business and company management perspective he always delegated the responsibility to his business-and-life partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, but in 1998, the company was sold to HdP (run by the Agnelli family) and after 5 years it was handed over to Marzotto family.It was the starting point of the clash of two different generations and most importantly, of two completely opposite perspectives on business. In 2008 Pemira Holding acquired 90 % of Valentino Fashion Group. Valentino retired in the same year but his line continued for two years under the direction of Alessandra Facchinetti. Today the label is designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri e Pier Paolo Piccoli, who were the former accessories designers of the house.