When Matt Tyrnauer decided to make a documentary film about his life, he was given the nickname of “The Last Emperor”. It was 2008 and Valentino, who had just resigned from the position of creative director of his homonymous fashion house, was described by the director as he has always been, a true emperor of taste, fashion and Italian style.
Born in Voghera on 11 May 1932, Valentino (whose real name is Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani) managed to build an empire using his name and became an Italian fashion legend and icon around the world. After studying at Milan and the Berlitz School, the extravagant Italian designer moved to Paris, becoming a collaborator in Jean Dessès fashion house and Guy Laroche’s atelier. From there, the final inspiration for the foundation of his atelier, the Valentino House, in Rome, in the central via Condotti, Roman epicenter of the world’s most renowned fashion boutiques.
His rise to the Olympus began in 1962 when he was in Florence, a city still holding the title of Italian fashion capital, and made his début at Pitti with his first collection, immediately becoming an international couturier and receiving a lot of recognition and approval from the famous magazine Vogue Paris. It would be in 1968 when his brand, characterized by the famous letter “V”, would begin to appear and enter into the collective imagination as a symbol of elegance and of the Italian “Grande Bellezza”.
The color red has always been his color. His red, the Rosso Valentino, a tone between carmine, purple and cadmium red, represents for Italy yet another feather in the cap, the possibility to identify and recognize the “made in Italy” even through what for less attentive and trained eyes might simply be a pleasant tone.
Valentino received numerous prizes and honors during his long career, just as many as the creations with which he dressed and paid tribute to great stars of the century, from Audrey Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor, to Jacqueline Kennedy or Princess Diana. His fame was even recognized by the genius of Andy Warhol, who in 1971 dedicated one of his famous portraits to him.
“I like to throw special parties where my worship for beauty must triumph”. Through these words, Valentino has been able to explain in the best way his lifestyle, which highlights, alongside opulence, taste for beauty, nearly an abstract idea that, through his work, takes shape and materializes to overcome the virtual dimension and reach, as by magic, the real one.