Valentino Brand History

A model on the catwalk of Paris Fashion Week 2015 wearing a red Valentino dress.

To celebrate our REDValentino collection on Coggles, we take a look back at the history of Valentino, one of Italy’s most iconic brands.

The story begins with Valentino Garavani, who started his fashion career at a young age as an apprentice for local designers. Training at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris, he worked for Jean Dessès and Guy Laroche before opening his own fashion house on Via Condotti, Rome, in 1959. 1962 saw the designer’s launch into international stardom, when Valentino made its debut at the Pitti Palace in Florence.

Valentino quickly became known for its haute couture, glamorous red dresses (it’s no coincidence that the brand’s diffusion line is named after a certain colour…), attracting the attention of women all over the world – most notably, Jackie Kennedy, who became a close friend of the designer. This started off the fashion house’s connection to influential women, with Valentino designing wedding dresses for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Hathaway, Courtney Cox and Princess Madeleine of Sweden.

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After a career that spanned over 40 years and was hugely influential on the fashion world, Garavani announced that he was retiring. His final ready-to-wear show was presented during the spring/summer ’08 fashion week in Paris, and featured a whole host of supermodels including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.

Since 2008, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have assumed the positions as heads of the fashion house. Creative partners for over 20 years, the pair studied at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome and worked together at Fendi before being approached by Valentino to become accessory designers. Now co-creative directors of Valentino, they have become credited with breathing new life into the brand, reinventing and modernising it for the new generation with the same glamour and elegance that Valentino is known for, but on a more subtle level.

REDValentino was launched in 2009 as a youthful, more eccentric, diffusion line of Valentino. It’s fashion-forward, contemporary and boundary-pushing, whilst being romantic, dreamy and staying true to the feminism and glamour that the fashion house is known for.


Words by Angharad Jones. Image courtesy of Valentino.

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert