Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was born 11 May 1932 and best known as Valentino, is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the Valentino brand and company. His main lines include Valentino, Valentino Garavani, Valentino Roma, and R.E.D. Valentino.
Valentino became interested in men’s and women’s fashion while in primary school in his native Italy, when he apprenticed under his aunt Rosa. At 12, Valentino moved to Paris to pursue this interest with the help of his mother Teresa de Biaggi and his father Mauro Garavani. There he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
His first choice for an apprenticeship in Paris, was with Jacques Fath, then Balenciaga. He then joined Guy Laroche for 2 years. Clients at that time included Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Elizabeth Taylor who marveled at Valentino’s style of white pleats and animal prints.
After five years, Valentino left Jean Desses and joined Guy Laroche, in his “tiny, tiny” fashion house. But after discussions with his parents, he decided to return to Italy and set up in Rome in 1959.
Valentino’s international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, the Italian fashion capital of the time. His first show at the Pitti Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was deluged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments from the press.
With the unleashing of his ‘Collection Blanche’, dedicated to Jackie Kennedy in 1967, Valentino Garavani went from famous to superstardom.
On September 4, 2007 Valentino announced that he would retire in January 2008. from the world stage after his last Haute-Couture show in Paris. He delivered his last women’s ready-to-wear show in Paris on October 4.
His final show received a standing ovation from the entire audience, which included hundreds of notable names from all areas of show business. Many models returned to show for Valentino’s last haute couture show, including Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Nadja Auermann, Karolina Kurkova and Karen Mulder.