French label of ready-to-wear fashion. Almost an acronym because it stands for Vêtements de Vacance. The company, created by Michèle Rosier, daughter of the owner of Elle and, at the time, a journalist, was founded in Paris in 1963. The first collections, thanks to the idea of creating quick-drying swimsuits that were made with nylon plume, were a great success. Fashion designers such as De Castelbajac, Kenzo, and Agnès B. worked for the griffe. In 1990, Sergio Tacchini purchased the griffe, thus acquiring the impetus to win new markets. Eight years later, the Parisian company became Italian and presented for the last Summer of the Summer of the millennium a new line: Sport Active, neoprene items with removable waterproof pockets.
A fabric manufacturer and later, a company running fashion boutiques, founded in 1952 by three women from Italian high society and aristocracy, Donina Gnecchi, Vittorina Pacini and Piretta Rocco di Torre Padula. The idea at first was to preserve a tradition of the upper Tiber valley, San Sepolcro, Città di Castello: hand weaving. “Donina and I were good designers. Vittorina and I knew lots of peasant women who had stopped doing hand weaving and we persuaded them to return to their looms. That’s how we got started,” recalled Piretta Rocco. The fabrics (cotton, wool and, later, linen) inspired the desire to create fashion: highly colored after-ski skirts, ponchos, outfits with a great and youthful imagination. Valditevere was a pioneer of the runway presentations in Florence, where it was based and still is, with a boutique in the Via dei Rondinelli. It is run by Donatella Martelli, the daughter of Piretta Rocco, who has established alongside the old company Valditevere Donna (all of the partners are women), focused on exports.
Sergio (1941). Roman hairdresser. He has also been called the coiffeur of fashion designers because he has worked since the 1970s for the runway presentations of great names. In 1971, he opened his salon in the Via Condotti. Two books have been written about him: Ricci and Capricci (1985) in which Pia Soli described him as one of the most creative minds in the sector, the second one, Idee per la testa (1995), containing ten years of hairstyles. He was invited by the Chinese government to teach haute coiffure lessons on television.
Professional name of Valentina Nicholaevna Sanina (1904). Russian costume designer and fashion designer, she worked in the United States. She designed clothes, to be worn on the set and in private life, for the most elegant female stars: Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Katharine Hepburn. She was born in Kiev, went to Paris as a refugee, and then moved to America and founded there, in 1928, her own fashion house. Her outfits were rigorous and sober, and were designed with a view to the body that would be wearing them. In 1957 she closed her atelier and retired. Maria Pezzi wrote: “In New York, in 1961, I was invited to a cocktail party by the Russian architect Barmasch, in his incredible house, with an entirely plastic hanging garden illuminated by an artificial sun. Among the varied invitees I noticed an elderly women who vaguely resembled Greta Garbo. She was dressed absolutely out of fashion but she was very elegant. They said to me: “Don’t you know Valentina? Until three years ago, she was the most original dressmaker working for the stars of Hollywood and she is an overwhelming personality.” I asked to be introduced; she looked sternly at my beautiful flowered blouse and said, without moving her lips: “You should never wear a print fabric near your face, because it alters the personality of your features. Prints are only good to wear from the waist down.” They told me that in the golden years, when Hollywood was a magnificent big super-luxurious corporation, full of incredible flashy vulgarity, she created the same sort of revolution that Isadora Duncan caused in the world of dance. She trimmed away all the unnecessary superstructure and returned to a classical simplicity, in which all the counted was the cut and the drop and the feel and the quality of the fabric. In fact, her guiding rule was: elegance is not the simplicity of luxury, but the luxury of simplicity.”
French fashion house that specialized in hats. It was founded by the daughter of Edmond About, a writer and member of the French Academy, who founded it, naming it after herself and managing it herself. The year was 1909. The Belle Epoque was drawing to an end. Valentine was a little more sparing in feathers and tufts than the exaggerated fashions of those years.
Ines (1972). Austrian fashion designer. She was born in Graz. She studied with Helmut Lang in Vienna and at the Domus Academy in Milan. She has carried out major collaborations in Italy and elsewhere. She has worked with many apparel manufacturers and producers of knitwear, haute couture and accessories, not to mention her experiences with consortiums such as lace producers such as Austrian Embroideries, or Swiss Textil. For them since 1993 Ines has designed entire lines or individual items, while continuing the collection that bears her name, which debuted at the end of February 1999, during Milan Collezioni, and which since then has been presented in various occasions on the runways of Europe.
&Quad;1999. She designed the FusCo per Angelo Fusco collection.
&Quad;2001, March. She sent down the runways models with beer cans and (fake) joints in their hands. There are countless parallels with Vivienne Westwood.
&Quad;2001, October. The urban jungle, a savage and yet metropolitcan panorama, was the setting for Valentinitsch’s Spring-Summer 2002 collection, with women wrapped in braided lianas enveloping their bodies. Fabrics and accessories were evocative of the world of apes. At the door, journalists were given little voodoo dolls, completed with pins.
&Quad;2002, September. On the occasion of her first appearance at “White,” the section of Momi-Modamilano dedicated to the most innovative names in prêt-à-porter, the Austrian designer presented outfits with concave 1980s shoulders, white balaclavas, and modernist ski overalls.
&Quad;2002, April. Thanks to the agreement with the Japanese group Itochu, the Austrian designer launches Ini, the youth line intended at first only for the Japanese market.
He was born Valentino Garavani (1933). Italian fashion designer. Ever since he was small, he clearly showed that he had a idea of style and elegance. It was an aspect that would clearly emerge in the first outfit that he created for his aunt Rosa, the owner of a passementerie shop in Voghera, in the Via Turin, where he loved to spend his afternoons playing with bolts of cloth. Even then he especially loved red: a color that, in later years, would become his good-luck charm and the strong suit of his palette. He understood this when, during his apprenticeship with Jean Dessès in Paris, he went to the Opera in Barcelona and was overwhelmed by the entirely red stage costumes: “It was at that moment that I understood that, after white and black, there is no color more beautiful.” Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was seventeent when he left Voghera to learn the fashion business in Paris. His speed at sketching models immediately won him a job with Dessès, where he worked until 1955, and then moved to a position with Guy Laroche. His transalpine apprenticeship lasted until 1957. That was the year in which he returned to Italy, where he opened, with his father’s help, an atelier in Rome in the Via Condotti. From a young apprentice designing the shadows for major atelier, he was now the owner of his own business. His debut took place in Rome, and was understated. It was, in fact, a fiasco, and he failed to sell even a single item. In those years, he became acquainted with Giancarlo Giammetti, a student of architecture who would become his manager and his administrator, as well as his communications director. In 1962 in Florence, Valentino was the last to present his collection in Palazzo Pitti. The hall overwhelmed his with a deafening roar of applause. “My mother said to me: ‘You hear them? They want you, because you’ve done it, you’ve won.’ Less than an hour later, I had sold my entire collection and I was swamped with orders.” Since then, his successes have followed one upon the heels of the other, punctually, season after season. “The Americans love this Italian who has become the king of fashion in just a short while,” wrote Woman’s Wear Daily in 1968, after a dazzling runway presentation all in white, studded with capes and lightly draped outfits. “Creativity,” said Valentino, “is difficult to explain, it is like an internal force, an enthusiasm that never wanes and which gives me the strength to continue working in new ways. As I look at things and people in the street, my imagination continues to march and my ideas take shape through my pencil.” His volcanic flow of new ideas — for women and refined elegance — left its indelible mark in the jet set. Farah Diba fled from her crumbling empire wearing a Valentino suit. Liz Taylor met Richard Burton while wearing Valentino. Jackie Kennedy married Onassis in a Valentino outfit of ivory lace that, for years, women copied around the world. The list of celebrities that have worn Valentino is endless: da Sophia Loren and Nancy Reagan to Brooke Shields and Sharon Stone. There are few who have been able to resist the allure of his outfits, a synthesis of luxury and grace modulated with modernity. He reinvented bows, transforming them into a symbol of femininity: one of his first outfits embellished with this detail won a legendary burst of applause that lasted for ten full minutes. He is an absolute master of his profession, of technique, and he has transformed this artisanal ability into a compass by which he charts the ongoing continuity of his line, even when in 1978, through a manufacturing agreement with the Gruppo Finanziario Tessile, he launched his first line (over time, the number of lines has grown to eight, including menswear and womenswear) of ready-to-wear fashion. Since 1968, he has presented his collections of prêt-à-porter on the runways of Paris, as he has also done since 1989 with his haute couture creations. His success has never known declines, it seems immune to flops and comebacks. But Valentino is especially proud of having created the Life Foundation to raise funds to help children afflicted with AIDS. A reality that came into existence in 1990, the same year in which the fashion designer celebrated in Rome and Milan his thirtieth year in business, with an exhibition at the Accademia Valentino, a space designed and equipped for exhibitions and cultural events. In January 1998, the “Rolls Royce of fashion designers,” as the Americans call him, sold his griffe for 500 billion liras (the annual turnover of the maison was 1.2 trillion liras) amidst much weeping, and maintaining a place for himself as the creative director, to HDP, the holding company run by Maurizio Romiti. He said: “I have seen too many of my colleagues being ushered out of their ateliers through the tradesman’s entrance, in order to make way for new creatives who have then undermined the originale style of the maison…” Valentino is a private man, but he also knows how to engage in polemics with stylish irony. When the American journalist, Suzy Menkes, the terror of fashion designers, decreed in 1990 that the end of the phenomenon of top models had arrived, and criticized those who continued to use them, Valentino replied by purchasing a full-page advertisement in the International Herald Tribune: “Suzy, you’ve got it all wrong. Love from Valentino and the top models” was the slogan beneath a photograph of Claudia Schiffer, Nadya Auermann, and Elle McPherson. He lives and works in Rome, Capri, London, New York and Paris. He purchased an eighteenth-century castle just an hour away from the French capital, which he considers as his refuge. He refuses to allow it to be photographed. The only pictures that have been taken show Valentino as he strolls in the immense park with his pet pugs. There is a vast forest, which he minimizes, describing it as: “Big enough to go horseback riding in it.”
&Quad;In 2001, Valentino — much loved by the stars of Hollywood — chose to celebrate his fortieth years in business in Los Angeles. The party, a benefit (it was a fundraiser for Child Priority) was organized with Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. During the evening, there was a book presentation of Il libro rosso di Valentino which — edited by Franca Sozzani — contains pictures of 40 women (including Ashley Judd, Ines Sastre, Isabella Rossellini, Kate Moss, Mila Jovovich) dressed in “Valentino red” and depicted by the most important photographers of the time. That same year, in March, Julia Roberts received her Oscar wearing “vintage” Valentino and gleaming in black silk in the mass media of the world, helping to launch what would become one of the most significant trends of fashion in recent years: vintage.
&Quad;2002, February. He represented Italy, with its historic and rare capacity to blend creativity and craftsmanship with taste and superior elegance, during the culiminating ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, broadcast around the world.
&Quad;2002, March. After months of negotiations and rumors, HDP sold the Roman griffe to the Marzotto Group. The deal is done for 240 million Euros, including the financial debts accumulated over recent years, which on 31 December 2001 amounted to 204.4 million Euros.
&Quad;Valentino Intimate and Valentino Sand were the first creations of the new management. With a three-year licensing agreement, the Como-based company Albisetti took over production and distribution rights worldwide for the intimatewear and men’s and women’s swimwear collections. The new lines debuted at Lingerie Americas, the first event in the sector held in the United States, which from 4 to 6 August 2002 featured 22 Italian underwear labels at the Pavillion Altman Building in New York. There were more than 125 manufacturers invited from around the world.
&Quad;2003. In the first two months of the year, Marzotto had 1.8 percent increase in turnover, to be attributed for the most part to the consolidation of Valentino.
&Quad;2003, May. Valentino, with a series of his “cult” outfits, took part in the exhibition My Favorite Dress at the Fashion Textile Museum, a London fashion museum built at the behest of the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes in the neighborhood of Bermondsey, south of the Thames.
&Quad;2003. He launched the Valentino Timeless watches and the youth line Valentino R.E.D. (Roman Eccentric Dressing), which reinterpreted his unmistakable timeless modules such as jeans, but also his more classic items such as the short “Jackie” overcoats or the “V Logo” of 1968, by now part of fashion history.