Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was born in Vogehera, Lombary, Italy in May 1932. He began working in the fashion industry at a young age as an apprentice for local designers. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as well as the training he received at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Garavani apprenticed in the salons of Jean Desses and Guy Laroche.
He left Paris in 1959 and opened a fashion house in Rome, gaining recognition for his red dresses – in a shade that became known as “Valentino red.”
Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti, his partner of more then fifty years. Valentino’s debut took place in 1962 at the Pitti Palace in Florence. He quickly became a power player of Italian couture with a long list of famous clients. He designed Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress for her wedding to Aristotle Onassis in 1968.
In 1998, Valentino and Giametti sold their company for approximately $300 million to the Italian conglomerate HdP which subsequently sold the company to Marzotto Apparel in 2002. In 2007, he announced his retirement. Pierpaolo Picciolioni and Maria Grazia Chiuri are the new designers at Valentino’s fashion house.
Quote from the 2008 documentary film The Last Emperor:
“I love beauty. I love beautiful women. It’s not my fault.”