|Valentino Garavani: A Biography|
His "V" logo is famous all over the world. Women such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Farah Diba and Elizabeth Taylor have worn his exquisite creations.
Valentino Garavani was born in Voghera, north of Milan. While attending high school he shows a precocius artistic temperament and soon becomes interested in fashion. He takes courses in fashion design and studies French to prepare himself to move to Paris, at that time world capital of clothing and culture. After a few years' apprenticeship "like at university" in the Fashion House of Jean Dessès and Guy Laroche, Valentino returns to Rome at the beginning of the 1960's to open his own atelier. Those are the years of the "dolce vita": Many Hollywood stars, who have come to Rome for the shooting of films, discover Valentino and determine his quick fame.
Valentino's international debut takes place in 1962 in Florence, the
then capital of Italian fashion. His first show at the Pitti palace is
welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier is submerged by orders
from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press.
At the end of the 1960's Valentino meets Giancarlo giannetti, an architecture
student who abandons university to become his business partner. Giammetti's
entrepreneurial genius will prove fundamental to the worlwide expansion
and success of the House.
In 1978 Valentino launches his perfume during a gala in Paris, where
guest star Mikhail Baryshnikov dances Tchaikowski's La Dame de Pique at
the théatre des Champs Elisées.
The first artistic biography of Valentino is published in 1982 by Franco
Maria Ricci. The identification of his work with the world of art continues
in the same year, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opens
for the first time its door to fashion with a Valentino show.
In 1985 Valentino conceives and produces and exhibition," Atelier of
Illusion", consisting of the most outstanding costumes used by famous opera
singers at the Scala Theater. The exhibition is housed at the Castello
Sforzesco in Milan with the direction of Giorgio strehler and is inaugurated
by the Italian Prime Minister.
1989 is marked by the opening of the "Accademia Valentino", a cultural space located near his couture atelier in Rome, for the presentation of art exhibitions.
In 1990, upon the encouragement of their friend Elizabeth Taylor, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti create L.I.F.E., an association for the support af AIDS related patients, which benefits from the activities of the Accademia Valentino.
In 1991 Valentino celebrates in rome his thirtieth anniversary in fashion with two spectacular events which represent the official entry of his creations into the Italian artistic patrimony. The Mayor of Rome organizes in his honor an exhibition at the Musei Capitolini including an important selection of his original drawings, photographs and paintings on his work by the world's most famous photographers and artists. Valentino himself organizes at his "Accademia" a retrospective exhibition of his most significant creations with over three hundred dresses.
The exhibition, named "Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic", reflects the essence of the Valentino style and his souces of inspiration mainly drawn from art and its applications, from nature, from folk and zoological themes, and his love for emblematic colors such as white, the symbol of dreams and red (the famous Valentino red) as the symbol of life. The exhibition is an impressive fresco of the history of Italian fashion and entrepreneurial ability. For its worth and resonance, "Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic" is invited to New York in 1992 to represent Italy at the Comumbus celebrations. In less than two weeks of exhibition in New York, "Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic" totals 70,000 visitors. The amounts deriving from the sale of entrance fees and merchandise are donated by Valentino to the New York Hospital for the building of a new wing of the AIDS Care Center.