For almost half a century the fashion designer Valentino Garavani dominated Italian haute couture, dressing the world’s wealthiest and most glamorous women in the most unforgettable dresses. Only a few years after opening his atelier in Rome in 1959, Valentino could already count Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn among his devotees. Despite his retirement in 2007 little has changed; his brand continues to thrive and prosper, and is worn by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. Valentino has always designed magnificent gowns, never wavering from his signature style of classic glamour and femininity.
After apprenticeships and junior positions in Paris with Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Jean Dessès, and Guy Laroche, Valentino returned to Italy to open his own fashion house. Not long after, he met his friend, ex-lover, and business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, who helped him steer the brand to the incredible success that it still maintains today. Valentino Garavani grew up with a generation of classic fashion designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Coco Chanel and his own style reflects these traditions of garment construction. His aesthetic is an opulent, lady-like beauty, often utilizing his trademark red; a rich, blue-based, pure crimson. Lace, chiffon, silk and satin, are his materials of choice, all rendered in sophisticated silhouettes that marry sex with elegance.
TASCHEN Books epic monograph on Valentino’s career includes images, sketches, magazine editorial shoots, advertisements, portraits, and documentary photographs - all from the fashion designer’s personal archive. While his dresses may be his most desired objects, Valentino’s perfumes, shoes, purses, and various clothing lines - including Valentino Garavani, Valentino Roma, and R.E.D. Valentino, make up a stunning body of work. Even though he has now left the helm of the label, TASCHEN’s book tribute to Valentino reminds us that he is a designer who pursues beauty to whatever end.