Valentino born in Voghera, Italy, in May 1932. Valentino studied fashion designer and French at the Accademia dell Arte in Milan. He then continued his studies at Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. While a student he was awarded a prize for fashion design by the International Wool Secretariat [later won by both Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld].
After nearly 40 years of superlative evening dress designing, Valentino Garavani, known simply as Valentino, sold his company in 1998 for £211 million. In 2006 President Chirac of France awarded this Italian the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Then in 2007 retirement age had finally arrived - he was 75 and had done it all: from Jackie Onassis' wedding dress to J Lo's.
He waved farewell with an extravaganza of a party in Rome and his successor, Alessandra Facchinetti - the former designer for Gucci - was announced. Her 2008 shows received rapturous reports.
His first job in 1950, aged 18, was with couturier Jean Desses. He later worked for Guy Laroche .Valentino launched his first collection - and salon - in Rome in 1960. He was famed for his full-length skirts, rather than minis: "I don't think any man in the world wants to go out with a woman dressed like a boy," he said In 1991, to celebrate 30 years in fashion, Valentino threw a three-day party, reported to have cost £2.5 million, with 1600 guests.
The jet set and the glamorati were his friends whether he at his home in Gstaad, in Capri, or on his yacht. However, when he retired, he chose the company of his pugs.