The name Valentino is synonymous with style. The label has produced successful collections year after year since its debut in 1962. The man behind the label, the eponymous, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani is a gifted fashion designer who used his extraordinary talents to build a successful empire that is still favoured by the rich and famous. Despite his retirement, the Valentino name lives on in the fashion industry, continuing to deliver the must-have fashion wear and accessories he made so famous. This is why we believe that the story of the brand is partly the story of Mr Valentino himself and his rise to fame. With that being said, join us as we emerge into the world of Valentino with some fashion facts about the world-famous designer.
Valentino Knew He Was Destined For Fashion
His passion for fashion was inherited from his aunt Rosa, a local fashion designer who encouraged young Valentino to apprentice herself and other local designers.
When he was just 15 years old, Valentino flew to Paris, eager to learn more about fashion and haute couture. At 18 years old, he studied at the academy for the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, where he practised sketching and after a year went to study under Jean Dessès at Balmain and Christian Dior. He stayed with Dessès for five years before moving to the house of Guy Laroche, where the designer claims he learned everything he knows – and after just two years under Laroche’s wing, he had gained enough skill to open his own fashion house.
Partner in Business & Romance
In 1960 the designer met Giancarlo Giammetti - an architecture student who quickly became the designer’s partner in business and romance. With the help of Giancarlo, Mr Valentino launched his first collection and salon in 1960’s Rome. Giancarlo also helped him gain international success, debuting in Florence in 1962, the world’s fashion capital at the time.
The Inspiration Behind ‘Valentino Red’ (Rosso Valentino)
Red is to Valentino, what orange is to Hermès. This signature trademark changed the course of fashion history and of the Maison as well.
Legend has it that Valentino was starstruck by this colour at a young age when he visited an opera house in Barcelona. He distinctly recalls strong and striking characters, all dressed in crimson. This made him realise the impact of colour on people.
Today, there is an official Pantone hue which consists of a mix of 100% magenta, 100% yellow, and 10% black.
The Secret To His Success
Valentino’s philosophy is simple, he states “The first and most important thing is that I try my hardest - with all my passion - to make a woman look beautiful and make dresses that are flattering to her body,” he says “A woman must feel like she has a glow.”
Adored By Stars
Like many other designers, Valentino’s popularity skyrocketed after celebrities and other well-known personalities wore his garments in public.
In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis developed an interest in the designer's clothing after seeing her friends adorned in Valentino's garments. Soon after, Jackie ordered six haute couture dresses, all in black and white, and wore them during her year of mourning following President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
However, she would remain a friend and a loyal client from there on, linking the Valentino name to her own iconic status in the fashion world. What's more, he designed her wedding gown for her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis in October 1968.
Valentino’s Fashion Faux Pas
Today, the designer is 89 years old and he regrets nothing in his life, save for his 1980’s ensembles.
"I hated the 80’s fashion," Valentino explained. "Looking back at my collections I hated my dresses, they were out of proportion—the shoulders too big, the hair was terrible, the shoes were no good. I never liked it. I always loved the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s," he continued.
Valentino & The Silver Screens
As a teenager, Valentino fell in love with the stars of the silver screen. He was completely enamoured by their exquisite gowns and suits that would later influence his career as a fashion designer.
Due to his thriving career, Mr Valentino was honoured in Hollywood. These are some of his most famous features:
2006: The designer appeared in a cameo role, as himself, in the hit movie The Devil Wears Prada.
2008: Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary film on the designer, premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, the film follows Valentino and his inner circle throughout various events.
Retired But Never Tired
On the 4th September 2007, Mr Valentino announced that he would retire from the world stage after his last Paris haute couture show in January 2008. However, he later admitted that he still creates sketches because of his love for design and drawing.
Where To Find Valentino in South Africa
Today, the Italian fashion house is adored by fashionistas all over the world, including South Africa! However, it's difficult to find Valentino clothing and accessories in the country as there are no official branches in South Africa. This is where luxury resellers like Luxity come to the rescue. Luxity is Africa's largest and most trusted source of pre-owned designer accessories - including Valentino!
Shop our extensive online selection or visit us in store for your daily fashion fix.