Valentino Garavani fashion

Italian Valentino Garavani fashion designer dresses runway
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, best known as Valentino (born 11 May 1932) is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the Valentino SpA brand and company. His fashion house is among the world's most famous haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion empires.

photo (c) Loquax from wiki with "GNU Free Documentation License"

1989 marked the opening of the Accademia Valentino, designed by Architect Tommaso Ziffer, a cultural space located near his atelier in Rome, for the presentation of art exhbitions. The next year, encouraged by their friend Elizabeth Taylor, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti created L.I.F.E., an association for the support of AIDS-related patients, which benefits from the activities of the Accademia Valentino.

Valentino and Giammetti were together for 12 years. Neither ever discussed their relationship with anyone outside their closest circle of friends, not even with their mothers. Valentino's mother, Teresa, moved from Voghera to Rome to help with the business. Eventually both his parents was engaged with Italian actress Marilù Tolo, the only woman he had really loved and with whom he'd have liked to have children.

On Thursday, 6 July 2006 President of France President Chirac of France awarded Valentino with final jewel in the crown of his achievements: Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur Légion d'honneur from the country where he arrived as a 17-year-old Italian boy - and fell in love with haute couture. "I am very honored", said Valentino, who has gleaned awards from across the world from his native Italy to America. "French people are charming, adorable but not extremely generous with foreigners, but they believe in what they do. I feel proud in exchange because what I did in restoration is something I did for La France." (Herald Tribune) Valentino was referring to restoring Wideville, his Louis XIII chateau outside Paris.

It is difficult to deny that Valentino in his long career has created some of the most sophisticated dresses to be seen and worn, particularly for the evening, the time of the day in which his flamboyant and opulent style has expressed itself at the best. However, when it comes to considering the general output of his work, and its relevance in the history of fashion, it must also be admitted that things change. 

Compared to the influence and innovations of such great masters as Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and ultimately Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino's style can be seen as much more conservative and fixed. His concept of elegance and beauty is basically an exercise in glamour for the sake of glamour itself. 

Inventive as it may be, it lacks the modernity, the conceptual depth, and the daring spirit that has marked the work of the above mentioned designers, particularly that of the most influential of his contemporaries (and in general the most influential post war designer), Yves Saint Laurent. 

When one looks retrospectively to his collections, (and the recent celebration in Rome is an occasion to do this) it is possible to see clearly that he has always designed thinking only and exclusively for women of the so-called jet set, the vacuous and glittering world of the great socialites, about which he always had a particular craving. 

The Italian designer has never translated the Zeitgeist into his fashion, remaining constantly hooked to the more abstract imperative of a glamourized concept of femmininity. In this sense, there are no sociological traces to be found in his creations, as there are in the collections of the four French masters or, more recently, in those of Jean Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace, two of the most acute interpreters of fashion as a mirror reflecting social and cultural changes. 

All of Valentino's talent has been put at the service of a romanticised notion of what the upper crust of society is, and consequently, of how a women belonging to it must dress and behave. This woman is more the fabrication of Hollywood in the 30s-40s; the main limitation of Valentino's work is that it is fundamentally tied to the period of the mythical stars such as Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Merle Oberon and Joan Crawford). 

At 75 years of age, Valentino cannot but go on doing what he has already done, even if most of his creations seem anachronistic and too elaborate for today's standards of life, even for the very rich for whom they are produced. Of course, this issue concerns haute couture as a whole. info (c)

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