Thursday, January 17, 2008

Valentino: An Era of Fashion Elegance Ends

Ciao! Au Revoir! Adieu! Kiss-Kiss. On 23 January, 2008 there will be a grande exit for the final exhibition of Monsieur Valentino's haute couture amidst Auguste Rodin's sculptures on the ultra chic Left Bank. Forty-five years of making fashion about élégance, drama and oh so, très chic. It would not be the glorious high fashion world without bodice ripping dramas or fits of piques that last decades and Valentino's life has not been without drama.
"I want to stop at the height of my glory," the 75-year-old fashion legend said after unveiling his last ready-to-wear collection in October, also in Paris.

"It will be a grand collection, a grand show, somewhat unique with a lot of gowns," a spokesman at the Valentino fashion house told AFP. (photos courtesy of IMAX TREE & AFP)

Valentino, the urbane Italian born as Valentino Clements Ludovico Garavani, stays ever enchanted with Paris having made the French capital de rigueur to launch his womens wear since 1989. He studied in France and apprenticed under Guy Laroche, before brandishing his own designs to be bought by no less than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Bold color or the emphasis of a singular trademark color for a show is a Valentino classic. His White Collection stopped them in their tracks and R.E.D. was a new Valentino sensation in the go-go Nancy Reagan red eighties. Liz Taylor's last wedding was in a gorgeous yellow chiffon Valentino under the open skies. In a gesture towards his birth home, Milan takes the honor for the menswear seasonal debuts. His next foray into fashion will most like be for operas where dealing with divas is an everyday thing - and Valentino has experience with top flight divas.

But fret not, a male and female Italian duo will work to keep the House of Valentino exhibiting its designs on the catwalks of fashion for years to come. She is from the House of Gucci, he is from the Home of Prada. To keep it truly international, the House of Valentino is now owned by an investment firm in the United Kingdom. My favorite quote from Rome on Valentino is:
"There's the pope and there's Valentino. In this city I don't know who else is as famous," Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni has said.
Like the Queen of England, Valentino loves his dogs, a half dozen pugs. Photographed in Valentino are Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Hurley and Elle Macpherson.

To purchase this 2007 book, Una Grande Storia Italiano. Valentino Garavani edited by Armando Chitalino, Matt Trynauer and Suzy Menkes, one will need the bank account of the Queen or a loan from Jo Rowling, because it is the most expensive book on fashion I have seen. It is completely illustrated and the cover is in Valentino's signature red with delectable black type. For Fashion, one must do their part. The book sells for a mere one thousand five hundred dollars USD, but Amazon is giving 10% off. Take advantage.

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