Valentino: the sheik of chic

Valentino: the sheik of chic

From Rome to the entire World: discover the story of the man who has created the Haute Couture.

Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani at 17years old arrived in Paris to study fashion at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. Balenciaga, Jean Dessès and Guy Laroche are the ateliers where he worked, he refined the techniques and absorbed the complex dynamics of an elitist, sophisticated world frequented by peculiar personalities, to which Valentino Garavani is naturally predestined.

But Paris wasn’t enough. He decided to come back in Italy to make a fashion revolution. So, he opened in 1958 his first in Rome in via Condotti, a very strategical place for the couture.

After a year Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti, a student of architecture and with him he began to write the history of a brand that would become a symbol of that aristocratic elegance in perfect balance between romance and audacity.

Giancarlo Giammetti has token care of every managerial aspect of the company while the couturier works on the collection that will seal the brand’s official debut. In July 1962, under the lights of the sumptuous Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and in front of an exclusive parterre, he paraded a series of exquisitely tailored evening dresses. It was an overwhelming success and for the first time French Vogue decided to dedicate the cover to an Italian designer.

Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti, 1959

The Valentino style has framed an absolute concept of elegance that had little to do with short-term seasonal trends. The couturier’s fashion had the task of providing an aesthetic memory of absolute beauty through the passage of time. From the choice of floral design fabrics to the polka dots, from the abstract and then doubled initials that had anticipates the decorative logo concept, these were all indicative choices of an aptitude for wanting to interpose exactly halfway between ornament and message. The Valentino dresses in the 60s had trapeze shapes, bows and flowers, they were in chiffon and seduced the eye with a sophisticated use of transparencies. The 70s of the revolution were condensed in the crooked and asymmetrical cuts of the skirts; finally, it was the power suit that imposed the well-known rigid shapes and structured shoulders on the Valentino silhouette of the 80s.

A lovestory between a designer and a color

Maybe carmine, but not purple. And no, it’s not even fiery red. Valentino Red is now a registered trademark with a very precise color formula. Legend has it that the couturier, during the Parisian years, was fascinated by the solemn atmosphere of the Barcelona Opera, including the guests dressed in red. And it was like a flash of lightning. That red remains so imprinted on him, or rather, it gets under his skin so much that it becomes the only possible color capable of competing with another winning colour, the graphic duo of black and white. In 2007, on the occasion of the “Valentino in Rome: 45 years of Style” exhibition, curated at the Ara Pacis by Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda, 300 mannequins shaped around the silhouette of the swan neck of Princess Marella Caracciolo, were set up and dressed in the master’s masterpieces in red. All-encompassing Valentine.

“I realized the dream of my life, to create women’s clothes”

Valentino Garavani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *