Fundamentals of Fashion
“I know what women want, they want to be beautiful” Valentino Clemente Ludovico Gavarani whom is known only by his first name, Valentino. Valentino was born on May 11, 1932 in Lombardy north Italy. At the age of seventeen, Valentino followed his dream of becoming a designer and studied at the prestigious Ecole Des Beaux-Arts and at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. After being an appendix of Jean Desses for five years, he assisted to Guy Laroche in Paris for two years. His position with both designers prepared him enough to become a perfectionist to his designs. After his experience in France in 1960, Valentino went back to his natal land;Italy and with the help of his family he opened his first fashion house in Rome and his first collection was shown after two years of work. This was how he was introduced to the fashion world. His designs were loved by people and he adopted the name “The Golden Boy of Italian Couture” One of the most outstanding accomplishments the designer has had, was in 1967, which was the opportunity to make Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown for her marriage to Aristotle Onassis. (Watson, 38). Since then, Jacqueline was one of his most loyal costumer, and friend, of Valentino. Valentino also made garments for Elizabeth Taylor, which at that time she was in Rome filming Cleopatra (Steele, 389). In 1969, Valentino opened his first ready-to-wear store in Milan and Rome which was followed by his children’s wear which was named Oliver, after his pet pug. Valentino sold his company to Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali (HdP) for three hundred million dollars in 1998 (Kilcooley-O'Halloran). This however did not stop Valentino as a designer. Valentino announced his retirement in 2007 but presented his last ready-to-wear collection in 2008. He later had a documentary titled “The Last Emperor this solidifies his accomplishments and validates him as one of this best designers of his time. The film was produced by Matt Tyrnauer. Valentino now lives in Rome with his partner Giancarlo and travels around the world with his friends and family. Valentino has made his mark in contemporary fashion with a style that has been described as modern yet sophisticated. His designs balances tradition and innovation through the image of an iconic femininity that is both classic and chic (Steele, 389). The common factor in all of Valentino’s designs, are that his technical precise tailoring, bows, ruching, and draping along with the famous Valentino red. Valentino is known for all these key features put together in such a way that it expresses his company’s distinctive quality and look. Valentino’s fabrics are printed with flowers, dots, and his own initial (Steele, 389). His designs are described as a kind of beautiful memory, a modern reference to a different time (Steele, 388). His designs offer simplicity but eloquence, for example the iconic gold V on his handbags became an essential for the elegant woman of the time. The influence and impact of his work can be verified with examining the social status of his clientele, “In 1968 he designed Jacqueline Kennedy’s dress for her wedding” (Steele, 389). Other important and influential clients included Paola di Liegi, Princess Margret, princess Grace of Monaco, and many other well-known women. Valentino lengthened hemlines and introduced folk and gypsy motifs in the early 1970s. Throughout the 1970s his designs alternated between slender suits and harem pants coupled with maxi coats. “His 80s collection were characterized by sarong skirts gathered on the hip, draped garments, ruched fabrics, breathtaking necklines, and dramatic slits in a range of color that emphasized the Valentino red, together with black and white” (Steele, 389 ). Valentino’s 90s collection integrated flounces, embroidery, and dots which was summed up as his “themes of revival and self-reference”. The...
Cited: Steele, Valerie. "Valentino." Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Detroit [etc.: Charles Scribner 's Sons, 2005. 388-90. Print.
Watson, Linda. "Valentino." Twentieth Century Fashion: 100 Years of Style by Decade & Designer. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001. 38-39. Print.
Kilcooley-O 'Halloran, Scarlett. "Valentino." Vogue UK. N.p., 06 July 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
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