In light of my going to the Valentino Exhibit at Somerset House this past weekend, I thought it fitting to write a little post about this wonderful Italian.
Growing up in Italy he developed an interest in fashion very early on and upon moving to France with his mother this was only to increase in fervency. Whilst there he interned at Jean Desses, sketching in between showing around clients however in 1959 after some disagreement he decided to return to Rome. There he began his own label and his fashion house very much resembled those of Paris, his dresses became famous, particularly the red, which soon became known in the industry as ‘Valentino Red’.
In early 1960’s he by chance met Giancarlo Giammetti, who ended up being his best friend and now his partner. After some persuasion Giammetti left his architectural university course and became a partner in the firm. Valentino’s international debut in 1962 in Florence, led him, by the mid 60’s, to be considered a Master of Italian Couture, winning several awards as well as endorsements but the most chic people of the time; Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Margaret to name a few.
“It is very, very simple, I like my girls to look sensational”
By the 80s the brand was huge, everyone had heard of ‘Va Va” as Elizabeth Taylor affectionately called him however by the late naughties both Valentino and Giammetti felt that the brand was becoming bigger than just a family brand and not what they wanted, so come the beginning of 2008, Valentino sold and retired.
I loved the exhibit and I thoroughly encourage everyone to go and see if they can before it closes. I learnt so much and it was wonderfully laid out; you were the ‘catwalk’ and the models were the audience and you had the opportunity to get so close to the gowns…as close as I’ll ever get to couture I’m sure! So hurry hurry along, you most definitely won’t be disappointed.