Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti at Valentino headquarters in Paris.
So what does a Roman couture legend who has worked day in, day out sketching beautiful dresses for almost half a century do the day after his retirement show?
“Certainly I am not the sort of person to be sitting all day long watching television,” Valentino says, pursing his lips extra tightly.
Instead, the morning after an army of models in red gowns streamed down the runway in his farewell show, held in a cathedral-like tent at the Musée Rodin, the designer was strolling into the soaring, neo-Renaissance splendor of the Salon des Arcades at Paris’s City Hall. Karl Lagerfeld was at his side, and after he received a medal of the city from a fawning Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who addressed him affectionately as “cher maestro,” Valentino quoted a song made famous by Josephine Baker.
“I have two loves, my country and Paris,” Valentino said in Italian-accented French as a thunderstorm of flashbulbs erupted before him.
A page of fashion history definitely turned when Valentino became only the second, after Yves Saint Laurent, of a batch of seventy-something design greats—Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Oscar de la Renta are among the others—to hang up his seasoned scissors. If it seemed an occasion that called for emotions of the moist variety, Valentino and his longtime business partner and alter ego, Giancarlo Giammetti, would have none of it. continue reading