The house that owns a colour

A true Italian fashion stalwart, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani studied fashion from an early age, holding a passion for beautiful design and fashion.

Valentino Red

Early days

Working furiously through apprenticeships with fashion houses in Paris, Valentino sketched endlessly between window dressing and greeting clients. Most of these sketches were lost, however, those that remain show the incredible characteristics of Valentino’s style that was to develop. Drawings of layered white pleats and animal prints gave a glimpse into the designer’s passions and on returning to Rome in 1960, Valentino’s first fashion house opened.

Valentino Red

A sketch by Valentino – spring/summer 1959 collection

Valentino Red

IMAGE: Valentino

Jacqueline Kennedy

His first major breakthrough came in 1964, when Jaqueline Kennedy spotted a beautiful black two-piece ensemble in black organza, worn by the twin sister of American Vogue fashion editor and friend of Valentino, Consuelo Crespi. On learning that this outfit was ‘a Valentino’, key pieces from his collection, a model and a sales rep went to showcase his work at Mrs Kennedy’s apartment in New York. Six of Valentino’s black and white haute couture dresses were ordered by Mrs Kennedy and were worn during her year of mourning, following the death of her husband, President John F Kennedy. She became a devoted client and lifelong friend, with Valentino later designing the white wedding gown worn by Kennedy at her wedding to Aristotle Onassis.

Valentino Red

Jacquline Kennedy’s wedding to Aristotle Onassis


Valentino’s success soared and he lived a hugely flamboyant lifestyle. The Maison produced the most opulent fashion, with a distinct shade of red becoming known as ‘Valentino Red’. His empire growing, Valentino’s designs became red carpet favourites, with celebrities adorning the grand designs.

Valentino Red

Valentino Red

Valentino Red

Julianne Moore at the Venice Film Festival wearing a Valentino gown from the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

Valentino Red

Nicole Kidman at the Toronto Film Festival wearing a Valentino dress from the Resort 2018 Collection.

Valentino’s retirement

His final haute couture show was presented in Paris during January 2008, receiving a standing ovation as Valentino took his retirement. The show attracted hundreds of notable names to its audience including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.

Valentino Red

IMAGE: Getty/Michel Dufor

Valentino Red

IMAGE: Getty/Dominique Charria

Valentino Autumn/Winter 2017/18

Haute couture autumn-winter 2017/18 sees blocks of colour, heavy fabrics and layering. Heavy capes and hoods sit alongside whispering fabrics, all devoid of intricate embellishment.

Valentino Red Valentino Red

Rockstud and more…

Today the Maison is as successful as ever, having undergone a huge creative evolution since 2008. With haute couture, Pret-a-porter and accessories lines, the brand’s vision has made Valentino one of the most successful houses in the fashion world, standing among the leaders of international fashion.

Valentino Red

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