Valentino is one of the leading brands in the fashion industry. You may know them for their stylish Rockstud collection or the trademark ‘Valentino red’ - but they’re known for much more than that.
Keep reading to learn more about Valentino, including how and when the label was founded, what it’s like today and the face behind the name.
You’ll also be on a journey with us from the brand’s creation back in the ’60s to their more modern pieces in 2021.
The Origin Of Valentino
The origin of Valentino begins with Valentino Garavani, a lover of fashion from Lombardy, Italy.
Valentino started his career the same way many other notable designers did - as an apprentice for local designers in the area.
While training at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris, he worked for Guy Laroche and Jean Desses which furthered his love for fashion and gave him the experience he needed to start his own label.
After apprenticing with some of the leading local names, Valentino Garavani moved back to Rome in 1959 to open his own fashion house modelling his business on the aesthetic homes he saw in Paris.
In the July of 1960, Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti and they quickly became close both professionally and personally, developing a romantic relationship. However, the romantic relationship didn’t last long, but the two were still life partners.
Giammetti was an architecture student at the time they met, and they joined forces to develop the Valentino fashion house into a popular and internationally recognised brand.
The Valentino Fall/Winter Collection 1961-1962 was widely successful, featuring 12 stylish white outfits that were inspired by Jackie Kennedy.
The Rise of Valentino
After working on the business for a couple of years, the pair organised the Valentino debut runway show which took place at the Pitti Palace, Florence in 1962.
The debut was a huge success and cemented the brand reputation. Socialites and aristocratic women from all around were drawn to the Valentino name - and this was just the beginning of their journey to the top of the fashion world.
Following this, French Vogue dedicated its cover to an Italian designer for the first time - a historic moment.
It wasn’t long until Valentino became known for its haute couture and stylish red dresses - influential women all around the world were photographed wearing Valentino pieces.
The 1963-1964 Fall/Winter Collection was based on wild animals, featuring striking zebra-print and stylish animal print pieces. The Contessa Consuelo Crespi (Italian Countess and ambassador of Italian fashion) was photographed wearing one of the gorgeous pieces from this collection, cementing Valentino’s place as a fashion icon.
Valentino continued to rise in popularity throughout the ’60s. The Valentino 1966 collection become well known for its stylish modern prints and geometric designs, including the iconic giraffe print wool-blend piece.
This is also the same year that Valentino launched the lingerie line, featuring bright pink and violet pieces.
In 1966, Ethel Kennedy (Robert F. Kennedy’s wife) wore a Valentino dress when she met the Pope (Pope Paul VI).
In 1967, Valentino received the prestigious Neiman Marcus Fashion Award - at this point, his client list was huge, with some notable names including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Queen Paola of Belgium, and the Begum Aga Khan.
This was just the beginning of Valentino’s connection with influential women - Valentino went on to design wedding dresses for Courtney Cox, Anne Hathaway, and even the Princess Madeleine of Sweden.
1968 brought further success to the Valentino brand after he introduced the Collezione Bianca - the Spring/Summer line which featured different shades of white stylish suits, coats, wraps, and legwear. Valentino also designed Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress for her marriage to Aristotle Onassis.
She also wore his designs when she transitioned out of the mourning stage for her first husband, J.F Kennedy, following his assassination in 1963.
This is also the year that Valentino opened a Paris store, and then another store in Milan the year after (1969). In the 1970s, Valentino’s fashion pieces became more diverse, with maxi coats, harem pants, and slender suits.
In 1974, the label had continued to grow, so he opened new stores in cities all around the world - London, New York, Tokyo, and of course, another Paris store.
You may be familiar with Valentino’s perfume - but Valentino hasn’t always made perfume. The first perfume, named Valentino, was launched in 1978 and was an instant success.
Valentino’s ‘80s collections featured sarong skirts, low necklines, and thigh slits with bright colours, perfectly encapsulating the era.
In the mid-1980s, Valentino introduced the Oliver line, which was named after his beloved dog, which he featured as his logo.
Valentino went on to sell his brand in 1998 to the holding di Partecipazioni Industriali SpA (HdP) - however, he still remained the creative director. In 2002, the house was then sold to Gruppo Marzotto.
Modern Day Valentino
Valentino is one of the leading fashion brands in the modern world, and is still as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.
The heads of the fashion house are Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli, and they have been since 2008. The pair have been creative partners for over two decades, and both studies in Rome then working together at Fendi.
Many people believe that the two creative directors of Valentini breathed new life into the label, moving it with the times towards the modern generation. However, Valentino maintains its luxury style and elegance.
In 2009, RedValentino was launched, offering eccentric and contemporary choices staying true to the label’s glamorous vision.
One of the more notable modern Valentino collections is the Rockstud collection, featuring stylish studded trainers (Rockrunners), heels, sandals, and boots.
To learn more about how Rockrunner sneakers fit.
The Rockstud collection was launched back in 2010, and shoes from the collection are still worn over ten years later. Jennifer Lopez was recently photographed wearing the iconic Rockstud heels in New York, demonstrating the timeless elegance of the Rockstud collection.