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Valentino Garavani: A Biography 
Valentino Garavani's biography is not only the history of an artist of fashion, but also the history of "Made in Italy" for the strategic decisions and commercial innovations which have marked the legendary growth of his House of Fashion from the original "atelier" dimension to the nowaday's status of fashion empire. 
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. 
 
By 1965 Valentino has aòready established himself as the leader of italian fashion. In 1967 he receives in Dallas, Texas the Neiman Marcus Award, equivalent to the Fashion Oscar. But his official consacration among the worlì's top fashion designers arrives in 1969, with the "White Collection", which also marks the introduction of his V logo on buttons, pockets and accessories. Valentino's clothes appear on the covers of both TIME and LIFE magazines and the already prestigious circle of his clients and friends is further extended to some of the most important ladies in the world, such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor, Farah Diba, Marella Agnelli, the Begum Aga Khan and so forth. 

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. 
 
By 1972 Valentino has already launched his women's and men's ready-to-wear collections and has opened his first boutiques in Rome and Milan. He extends the range of the products bearing the Valentino signature and is the first italian designer who inaugurates a policy of licensing agreements for the production and commercialization of his lines on international markets. He is also the first fashion designer in the world to use the cooperation of the most famous photographers for his advertising campaigns. 

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. 
 
In the 1980's Valentino establishes operative branches in the USA and in Japan, followed by the opening of a chain of Valentino boutiques in those two countires. 

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 1984 Valentino celebrates his jubilee and receives a special award from the Italian Ministry of Industry. On that occasion he is officially invited at the Quirinale Palce by The President of the Italian Republic. Also in 1984 he is chosen to design the Italian athletes' uniform at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. 

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. 
 
In 1986 Valentino is appointed by the President of the Italian Republic "Cavaliere di gran Croce": the Italian highest official award. 

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.