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1932: Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani is born on May 11 in Voghera, in Northern Italy, to Mauro Garavani, director of an electrical supply business, and Teresa de Biaggi.
This story first appeared in the October 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
1959: Valentino’s first couture studio opens at 11 Via Condotti in Rome. A second follows on Via Sant’Andrea in 1965.
1960: The designer meets Giancarlo Giammetti, who would become his partner.
1962: Valentino shows at the Pitti Palace in Florence. The collection is an instant hit.
1964: The house presents the collection at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Jacqueline Kennedy becomes a client.
1967: Valentino is honored in Dallas with the Neiman Marcus Award for most original dress designer.
1968: The White Collection bows.
• Jacqueline Kennedy chooses a Valentino-designed dress for her marriage to Aristotle Onassis.
• The house’s first Paris boutique opens at 42 Avenue Montaigne.
1969: Valentino Men’s launches and the company’s first shop in Milan opens.
1970: Valentino launches a ready-to-wear collection.
1971: A men’s shop opens in Rome.
1975: Valentino ready-to-wear makes its Paris debut.
1976: Valentino opens a store in Tokyo.
1978: Valentino launches its first namesake fragrance.
1982: Valentino, invited by Diana Vreeland and The Costume Institute, shows his fall couture collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
• Valentino shows in Tokyo for the first time.
1983: The Italian Olympic Committee selects Valentino to design uniforms for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
1985: The fragrance Valentino di Valentino launches.
• Italian president Sandro Pertini honors the designer as Grande’Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito.
1986: The designer earns Italy’s highest honor: Cavaliere di Gran Croce.
1989: Valentino haute couture bows in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
• A new line, Oliver (named for the designer’s favorite pug), shows for the first time in Milan.
• The National Italian American Foundation honors Valentino with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
1990: Valentino and Giammetti found AIDS-education organization L.I.F.E. (Lottare, Informare, Formare, Educare: To Fight,To Inform, To Form, To Educate”), with the support of Elizabeth Taylor.
• Marking his 30th year in fashion, the Accademia Valentino center for the arts opens in Rome. The first show is the “Art of Cartier.”
• The book “Valentino: Trent’Anni di Magia” (“Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic”) is published.
1991: The fragrance Vendetta launches, followed by Vendetta Pour Homme.
• The city of Rome celebrates the house’s 30th anniversary with the exhibition “Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic,” held at the Capitole Museum; the Accademia Valentino presents a retrospective of his work.
1992: “Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic” moves to New York. More than 70,000 visitors attend the exhibition within two weeks.
1993: Valentino makes its debut in China at CHIC ’93, the country’s first government-sponsored fashion event, at Beijing’s ancient Temple of Heaven.
1994: The designer creates costumes for “The Dream of Valentino,” an opera about silent-movie star Rudolph Valentino.
1995: More than 30 years after his first show at the Pitti Palace, Valentino returns to Florence and shows at the Stazione Leopolda. The city’s mayor awards him a special prize for Art in Fashion.
• The house licenses Warnaco for lingerie.
1996: The designer receives the distinction of Cavaliere del Lavoro.
1997: Launch of Very Valentino fragrance; a men’s version follows in 1999.
• Debut of the new sportswear line V Zone.
1998: Italian firm Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali buys Valentino for an estimated $300 million.
• Valentino signs a global eyewear license with Safilo.
2000: Valentino marks 40 years in fashion showing 40 red dresses at Rome’s Piazza di Spagna.
• The Council of Fashion Designers of America honors the designer with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
• A new line, Valentino Roma, takes the place of Miss V.
2002: Italian textile giant Marzotto Group acquires the Valentino fashion house from HdP for $210 million.
• Valentino Gold fragrance launches.
2003: Accessories directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli introduce the younger line Red Valentino.
• The house signs a beauty license with Procter & Gamble, terminating its Unilever pact.
2005: P&G launches the V fragrance, followed by the stronger V Absolu.
• Valentino Fashion Group — valued at close to $1 billion — is listed on Italy’s stock exchange.
• The designer garners the Superstar Award from Fashion Group International.
2006: Three fragrances launch: V été, V Pour Homme and Rock ’n’ Rose.
• French president Jacques Chirac honors Valentino with the distinction of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
2007: In June, London-based private equity firm Permira acquires Valentino Fashion Group for an estimated $3.5 billion.
• In July, celebrations for Valentino’s 45th anniversary include a couture show in Rome and the exhibition “Valentino in Rome: 45 Years of Style” at the Ara Pacis Museum, followed by a dinner at the Temple of Venus and an aerial ballet.
• Valentino says he will retire in January.
• Alessandra Facchinetti, former Gucci designer, is named creative director.
2008: Valentino is delisted.
• In January, Valentino holds his last couture show at the Musée Rodin in Paris, and retires from fashion. The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano, honors him with the Grande Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris.
• Facchinetti shows her first ready-to-wear collection in February.
• Matteo Marzotto, president and chairman of Valentino SpA, resigns and is succeeded by Stefano Sassi.
• Valentino launches Valentino Timeless watches in partnership with Timex Group.
• “Valentino: Themes and Variations,” a major retrospective, opens at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
• “The Red Thread: The Inspiration and Passion of Valentino Garavani,” an interactive exhibition, opens in New York and London.
• “The Last Emperor,” a movie about the life and work of Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti hits theaters worldwide.
• In October, after two seasons, Facchinetti and Valentino part ways. Chiuri and Piccioli are named creative directors.
2010: The house licenses Puig for beauty, terminating its pact with P&G.
• Dancers of the Vienna State Opera Ballet at Vienna’s annual New Year’s concert gala don costumes designed by Valentino.
• “Valentino Retrospective: Past/Present/Future,” chronicling his early works, opens at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.
2011: Marchon wins the company’s global eyewear license.
• Valentina fragrance is launched.
• A men’s store opens in Hong Kong.
• The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, the first 3-D fashion virtual archive, launches at valentino-garavani-archives.org.
• The Costume Council of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology honors Valentino with an award for artistry.
2012: Chiuri and Piccioli present their first men’s wear show as special guests at Pitti Uomo in Florence.
• The revamped Via Montenapoleone store in Milan, designed by David Chipperfield, opens.
• In July, Valentino SpA is sold to Mayhoola for Investments SPC, an investment firm controlled by the royal family of Qatar, for $858 million.
• Valentino Garavani designs 30 costumes for the New York City Ballet to be worn at a special gala in September.
• In October, Valentino Garavani is honored by French Minister of Culture with the distinction of Commandeur des Arts et de Lettres.
• “Valentino: Master of Couture,” celebrating the house founder’s life and work, will run at Somerset House in London from Nov. 29 to March 3.