Valentino Garavani was born in Voghera, north of Milan on May 11, 1932. Showing a precocious interest for art, he soon became interested in fashion. After a few years' apprenticeship in the Fashion Houses of Jean Desses and Guy Laroche, Valentino returned to Rome at the beginning of the 60s to open his own atelier in Via Condotti. Those are the years of the Dolce Vita and many Hollywood stars who went to Rome discovered Valentino and determined his fame quickly.
Valentino's international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, which was the Italian fashion capital of the time. His first show at the Pitti Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was submerged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments from the press.
At the end of the 1960s Valentino meets Giancarlo Giammetti, an architecture student who abandons the university to become his business partner. Giammetti's entrepreneurial genius will prove fundamental to the worldwide expansion and success of the House.
Born: May 11, 1932, in Voghera, Italy
First Break: At 17 became assistant to French designer Jean Desses.
Company founded: 1960
Based in: Rome
Men’s line: R.E.D. Valentino
Selected awards: Neiman Marcus Prize (1967); Grand Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito by the President of Italy (1985); CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)
Signature quote: "Elegance is the balance between proportion, emotion, and surprise."
Worn by: Usher, Zach Braff, John Leguizamo