VALENTINO store The Dubai Mall, Dubai, UAE



For more than five decades, the house of Valentino has been a beacon of glamour, bathing its best-dressed clientele in the most scintillating of lights. From the start, its founder, Valentino Garavani, has worked by one simple precept: “I know what women want,” he once said. “They want to be beautiful.”
Growing up in provincial Voghera, Italy, young Garavani loved going to the movies. One film in particular, Ziegfeld Girl, left him with a lust for the beautiful life. “For me, a young guy of 13, to see this sort of beauty—I think from that moment I decided I wanted to create clothes for ladies.”

Garavani studied in Paris, after which he honed his skills in the salons of Jean Dessès and Guy Laroche. In late 1959, he returned to Italy and opened the doors of his own lavishly appointed atelier and began charming Rome’s elite. His dresses were clean and modern yet unabashedly feminine—with bows, flowers, ruffles, lace, embroideries—always in the finest fabrics, always molto elegante. In his first collection, there appeared what would become his signature: a dress the color of poppies, later known as Valentino red.

Garavani and his right-hand man, Giancarlo Giammetti, together built an empire. Among the luminaries orbiting Valentino’s chic salon were the stylish socialites Marella Agnelli and Jacqueline de Ribes, as well as Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren, sirens of Cinecittà Studios. Hollywood actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn also called upon the Roman couturier.

In July 2007, Valentino celebrated 45 years of luxury in high style. The glitterati flocked to Rome for a three-day gala, during which they were treated to a retrospective at the ancient Ara Pacis, dinner at the Temple of Venus, an aerial ballet, and a grand ball at the Villa Borghese. The following January, he walked his last runway to a standing ovation.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolop Picciolli, the brand’s accessories designers, took the reins later in 2008, and subsequently turned on a new generation of “Val’s Gals.” “It’s the same elements, but with a new attitude,” Chiuri told Vogue in 2009. “It is more cool, modern, contemporary,” Piccioli added, “very uptown goes downtown.” The design duo split after eight successful years in July 2016. Chiuri is to become Dior’s first female designer, and Piccioli remains at Valentino as sole creative director.



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