The Story of Designer Valentino Garavani

On May 11 in the year 1932, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was born in Lombardy, Italy. He is one of the world’s most famous designers who built his own company, Valentino SpA.

Valentino Garavani
Valentino Garavani (Credit: Britannica)

Even as a child, Valentino Garavani showed his interest in fashion by apprenticing for two aunts. He later had formal training at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, both located in Paris. After he gained enough professional experience by working as an apprentice for Jean Dessès and Guy Laroche, he left Paris to start his own fashion house in Rome, Italy.

In 1960, he met his lifelong partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, an architecture student. Two years later, they made their international debut when they joined a fashion show in Florence, then the fashion capital of Italy. Their reputation quickly spread, attracting the interest of many socialites and noted personalities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and even the Queen of Belgium. In 1964, the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy became a client and friend when Valentino made a fashion show in New York. When Mrs. Jacqueline married Aristotle Onassis, she wore a Valentino gown on her wedding day.

Valentino sold the business for $300 million in 1998 but he remained active in the management of the company. In January, 2008, he retired as previously announced in 2007. In 2012–2013 a major exhibit was opened in London, showcasing some of his over a hundred haute couture designs.

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