Few fashion brands brands have as enviable a fashion history as the House of Valentino. From a salon financed by his father, Valentino's collections went down in fashion history when worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn and endorsed by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland and art icon Andy Warhol.
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was always interested in fashion and art. In 1949 he left home in Voghera to study art and fashion in Paris. Here he enrolled himself at École des Beaux-Arts and Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. When Valentino won a contest on fashion design by the International Wool Secretariat —the same prize iconic fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld would win later— it led to a job at House of Jean Dessès where he helped Countess Jacqueline de Ribes sketch her ideas for bespoke couture. In 1957 Guy Laroche, an illustrator at Dessès, set up his own fashion house and Valentino worked with him for two years.
In 1959 Valentino returned to Rome and -with financial backing from his father- opened his "maison de haute couture" on Via Condotti. It was magnificent and fashion models flew in from Paris for his debut showing. Valentino became famous for his red evening gowns which has been ingrained in fashion lexicon as "Valentino red." Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor- who was shooting for "Cleopatra" in Rome- came across his creations and placed an order for a white dress which she wore for the world premiere of "Spartacus".
There was no looking back. Valentino was on a roll. In 1960 a serendipitous meeting with architecture student Giancarlo Giametti at Cafe de Paris led to a lasting relationship. Giammetti became his business partner and companion.. and together they built the Valentino empire. Two years later Valentino debuted his couture collection in Florence and in no time, the A-list set wore his designs including Princess Margaret of England, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy.
In a bold move away from his signature red, Valentino designed a white collection in 1967 for which he was honoured with "The Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion". The collection debuted the V monogram. Buoyed by success.. in 1969 he opened his first ready-to-wear store in Milan followed by stores in New York, Rome and Asia. It was now a global brand. Throughout the Seventies, Valentino spent time in New York, where his presence was revered by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who expected nothing but the best from the Italian couture house; Valentino was synonymous with elegance, style and Italian craftsmanship.The Nineties marked the opening of Accademia Valentino: a cultural space for art exhibits. The following year- encouraged by Elizabeth Taylor- the duo opened L.I.F.E.: a firm that supports AIDS patients.
Valentino received several awards in his prolific career including The Legion of Honour; Medal of the City of Paris; Golden Plate Award of American Academy of Achievement and the crowning glory… The Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998 the company was sold for reportedly $300 million to Italian conglomerate HdP. In 2002, Valentino S.p.A. was resold by HdP to The Marzotto Group for reportedly $210 million.
In July 2007 Valentino celebrated forty-five years in Fashion. The global A-list set flocked to Rome for a three-day gala and the following January, he walked his last runway to a standing ovation. When Valentino retired in January 2008, his farewell show was an extravagant one held at Musée Rodin, Paris and the nine hundred -strong guests which included royals and celebrities gave him a standing ovation. On his retirement.. Alessandra Facchinetti was named Creative Director but was replaced by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Per Vogue France: "The modest Italian-born duo reinvented the label's flamboyant design codes, bringing a gentle liberty with more volume, fluid lines, softer colors and graceful simple silhouettes." However, on 7 July 2016, Maison Valentino nominated Pierpaolo Piccioli its sole Creative Director. Chiuri left after seventeen years with the brand and eight years in her role as co-creative director…
The Italian fashion house announced Lady Gaga the face of Voce Viva- a perfume envisioned by Pierpaolo Piccioli. "Lady Gaga means freedom.. self-consciousness.. pure heart" Piccioli said in a statement. "Her participation in this campaign elevates the symbolic power of the project to the highest level. She is the icon of a generation. Her message of freedom, passion for art, self-consciousness and equality is the same our Valentino community stands for. I am so proud for having her in."
In 2012 Qatar acquired Valentino for reportedly 700 million euros through an investment vehicle. In recent times, the Italian fashion house announced Lady Gaga as the new face of Voce Viva- a perfume envisioned by Pierpaolo Piccioli. The maison also announced that it would no longer use alpaca wool harvested from live animals from the world's largest privately owned alpaca farm Mallkini in Peru and severed ties with Mallkini.
Valentino Fall 2023-24 Couture was highly acclaimed. Per Vogue: "Piccioli, whose hyper-skilled atelier can bring to life even the most maddeningly elaborate artifacts, believes on the contrary that the essence of couture is profoundly simple. He made the case for this by showing a collection devoid of pyrotechnics, superfluous gimmicks and crowd-pleasing distractions. It was simplicity at its most masterful- a celebration of imaginative extravagant clarity."
Valentino aims to empower women by filtering timeless elegant styles through modern lens to create luxury apparel that are wearable, relevant and sensual.
The Valentino vision is one that prioritises high quality of hand craftsmanship and excellence in execution.. subsequently creating timeless luxury fashion collections that have become symbols of Italian high style.
Pierpaolo Piccioli (Creative Director)
Jacopo Venturini (CEO)
Recognition and Awards
Products and Services
Couture- ready to wear- footwear- eyewear, fragrance, watches, and accessories
- Official website Valentino
- Vogue profiles Valentino Vogue
- So Very Valentino Vanity Fair
- Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli: Eight years at Valentino Vogue
- Valentino Fall 2023-24 Couture Vogue
- Valentino Confirms Maria Grazia Chiuri's Exit WWD
- Valentino returns to Milan Fashion Week with flowery menswear show Reuters
- Valentino and Prada to halt use of alpaca wool and kangaroo leather The National News
- Facebook account of Valentino Facebook
- Valentino Couture Fall 2023 WWD
- Celebrity brides who wore Valentino on their big day Hello!
- Valentino to Stage Next Couture Show at Château de Chantilly WWD
- Twitter account of Valentino Twitter
- Valentino slips from Italian hands The Guardian
- Qatari royals buy Italian fashion icon Valentino Reuters
- Instagram account of Valentino Instagram
- Youtube account of Valentino Youtube
- Lady Gaga Is the Face of Valentino Beauty's New Perfume Elle
- LinkedIn account of Valentino LinkedIn
- Wiki page of Valentino Wikipedia
Valentino Garavani (Founder)
Pierpaolo Piccioli (Creative Director, Valentino)
Jacopo Venturini (CEO)
Fashion and Textiles
Retail and Consumer Goods