Reeling Back The Years - History Of Fashion House Valentino
"I know what women want, they want to be beautiful" Valentino Garavani once said.
The revered fashion designer, known for his glamorous designs, grew up in Voghera, Italy. He studied in Paris and honed his haute couture knowledge working with famed names such as Jean Dessés and Guy Laroche.
As a young boy, Valentino enjoyed going to the cinema and this influence can be seen in his feminine gowns, worn by many a screen siren down through the years.
In his first collection there was a dress in the colour of poppies and this would later become known as "Valentino red".
Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn often visited Valentino's salon in Italy. Word of his designs soon spread and Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue, contributed to his success in New York.
By 1967, he was the first port of call for famous actresses, society dames and successful models in search of their dream dresses.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis counted the designer as a close friend and she was regularly pictured with Valentino as his business continued to expand.
Over the years, the distinctive V logo became even more successful. The designer branched into ready-to-wear, menswear, homeware, perfume and shoes with Giancarlo Giammetti as his right hand man.
Valentino was outspoken about his dislike of miniskirts and in 1970 he launched the midi skirt, which has made a huge comeback in recent seasons.
“I believe the miniskirt is dead once and for all,” the designer said at the time. “I believe that the midi is the only chance for a return to elegance.”
1984 was a huge year for the designer as it marked 25 years in the fashion industry. He received an award from Italy's minister of industry, designed the outfits for the Italian team taking place in the Summer Olympics and his villa was featured in a Vogue photo essay.
The National Italian American Foundation honoured Valentino with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989 and he set up L.I.F.E (Lottare, Informare, Formare, Educare: Fight, Inform, Form, Educate) with Gianmetti and Elizabeth Taylor in 1990.
In 2000, to celebrate 40 years in fashion, 40 red dresses were shown at Rome’s Piazza di Spagna and in 2003, a diffusion line by the name of Red (Red Eccentric Dress) was introduced.
2007 was the year Valentino announced his retirement and he showed his final couture show in January 2008. Former Gucci designer Alessandra Facchinetti was named creative director but after two seasons she was replaced by design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
As if that wasn't enough information to take in, Valentino is godfather to Apple (daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin), he had a cameo role in The Devil Wears Prada and he designed Jennifer Lopez's wedding dress because she wanted to look like a princess.