Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani is known for dressing women. Famous for his gorgeous gowns that lit up the red carpet, the Italian designer understands the female form and – most importantly – what women want.

Beautiful creations highlighting sweeping lines and finished off with an elegant silhouette – this was Valentino’s secret formula to success. His preferred colours were black, white and a specific crimson shade known as “Valentino Red”.

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He opened his first shop on the glamorous Via Condotti in 1960, and later made his international debut in Florence in 1962, with help from his lifelong business partner and friend, Giancarlo Giammetti.I

It wasn’t long before women were clamouring to be dressed by him. Among his list of clients were those belonging to the upper echelons of society. Jacqueline Onassis famously wore a Valentino for her wedding to Aristotle Onassis, just as Anne Hathaway wore a custom dress to hers. Julia Roberts wore an elegant black and white dress when she accepted her Oscar for Best Actress in 2001. Although he is retired, his legacy lives on.

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He was the focus of a documentary, released in 2008, called The Last Emperor. He and Giammetti also launched The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum in 2011, showcasing creations across almost five decades.

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