By  on January 24, 2008

Tout Paris caught the wave as Valentino bid an emotional farewell to a stellar haute couture career that began 45 years ago in his native Italy. His spring collection of 75 looks, shown to 900 guests, addressed the past and present in a masterful melding of the two. Styles ranged from simple suits and jackets in vibrant colors to romantic evening looks and a finale of silk column dresses in, naturally, his signature red.

Valentino: No airborne trapeze artists swinging by, no Annie Lennox tickling the ivories, no mega retrospective exhibition (at least not until June at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs). Rather, on Wednesday evening, Valentino said goodbye to fashion with relative discretion at a stellar show at the Musée Rodin. "We are very serene, very happy," he had said on Monday. And, indeed, when he took that last walk down the runway after a 45-year run at fashion's highest reaches, he maintained his composure as his audience jumped to its collective feet in wild appreciation.

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