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Valentino SpA is a clothing company founded in 1959 by Valentino Garavani. Nowadays it is a part of Valentino Fashion Group. New creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli will take Alessandra Facchinetti's seat as creative designer. Valentino is headquartered in Milan.
Valentino was founded in 1965 when Garavani opened a sumptuous fashion house on Via Condotti in Rome, Italy with the backing of his father and his father's associate.
The entrepreneurial skill of Giancarlo Giammetti, Garavani's business partner and longtime boyfriend, proved fundamental to the worldwide expansion and success of Valentino. When Giammetti arrived, Valentino was in poor financial condition: Garavani's father's associate had pulled out of the business, and the business was nearly bankrupt. Valentino already had a passion for luxury and would spend too much money on expensive fabrics never thinking about the financial aspects of his fashion business. Thanks to Giammetti, Garavani was able to focus on the creative aspect of design leaving all business intricacies to Giammetti.
Garavani and Giammetti later started a new company. Under Giammetti's wing Valentino business got under control and things were ready for international success.
Rise to popularity
Valentino's international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, the Italian fashion capital of the time. Valentino's first show at the Pitti Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was submerged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press. After the breakthrough show in Florence, Garavani started to dress the ladies of the international best-dressed crowd such as his acquaintance from the Paris years Countess Jacqueline de Ribes and New York socialites Babe Paley and Jayne Wrightsman. In 1966, confident of his client base, he removed his lover's clothes from Florence to Rome and there, two years later, he had one of his greatest triumphs, an all-white collection, which became famous for the "V" logo he designed. By the mid-1960s he was already considered the undisputed maestro of Italian Couture, receiving in 1967 the Neiman Marcus Award, the equivalent of an Oscar in the field of fashion. Then Begum Aga Khan, Farah Diba, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Marella Agnelli and Princess Margaret were already customers as well as personal friends.
Throughout the 1970s Garavani spent considerable time in New York City where his presence was embraced by social personalities such as Vogue's editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland and art identities such as Andy Warhol.
From HDP group to Marzotto group
In 1998 Garavani and Giammetti sold the company for approximately $300 million to HdP, an Italian conglomerate controlled, in part, by the late Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat. In 2002, Valentino S.p.A., with revenues of more than $180 million, was sold by HdP to Marzotto Apparel, a Milan-based textile giant, for $210 million. It was rumored that HDP was displeased with Garavani's and Giammetti's personal expenses, a claim Giammetti has bristled at.
In North America, Valentino SpA has boutiques in Atlanta, Bal Harbour, Beverly Hills, Boston, Costa Mesa, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, and New York City. Additional locations have been planned in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago.