'Valentissimo! Viva Valentino!' exclaimed Vogue, lauding the achievements of the first Italian dress designer to take on the Paris fashion world and achieve haute couture status. Drawing on Vogue's archive of imagery and text, as well as the author's exclusive interview with the designer, this book analyses Valentino's exceptional fusion of Latinate sensuality and Parisian precision. It shows how his inventive colour sense and use of opulent fabrics derived from Italian classical painting, and how his trust in and promotion of Italy's craftsmen and women is evident in his use of featherweight materials, handmade embroidery, beading and pleating. Valentino's early love of costumes worn by stars of the Italian and American film industry influenced his designs, and he attracted a superstar clientele, including Hollywood celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Gwyneth Paltrow, European royalty, and society figures such as Jaqueline Kennedy - who wore him in mourning, and in remarriage, at her wedding to Aristotle Onassis.Valentino is unique: the exquisite quality of his dressmaking and the femininity, glamour and allure of his seasonal collections are matchless; exceptionally in his field, he is known by his first name only; and he holds a record as the founder of a house who remained in creative control of it for 45 years.
Drusilla Beyfus is a journalist, broadcaster and well-known commentator on modern modes and manners. Formerly a senior tutor at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, she has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers, featured in many television and radio programmes and is the author of several books on etiquette. Her most recent book is Vogue on: Hubert de Givenchy.