By and  on June 27, 2007

THE SIXTIES

"All the American clothes are wonderful — including the beach clothes, the at-home things."

"I am an optimist…but also a great, hardhead."

"Women of today have a duty to be soigné. They should be well made-up, absolutely wear lipstick — I detest women without lipstick — and be well coiffed, not running around with dangling straight hair as if they just finished a home shampoo."

"Unfortunately, I like to eat. I say unfortunately because I don't want to get fat, and in front of a good plate of tortellini alla crema, I can't resist."

"Americans are great with one who is successful. In no other place in the world do I feel like a king as I do there."

"But let me say, viva high fashion. High fashion will never die. The world is full of refined women who want it, who want to wear a label. It was good that so many ugly things have been made this last period, it helped high fashion to emerge brighter."

"I know that I am so much watched wherever I go that I have to also be very careful about the way I dress. And, of course, I can't be seen twice in the same outfit."

THE SEVENTIES

"I don't get involved with prices. I am too busy creating."

"I know within myself that what I do and design may or may not be accepted. But I feel what I do is right. Now that I have reached my equilibrium in fashion, my nervousness is turning to my private life. Just consider I have homes in New York, Rome and Capri to worry about, not to mention four female dogs searching for husbands."

"High fashion exists and will always exist for me. What I mean by high fashion is proportion and great style. Those who don't have these talents should drop out of the couture."

"I really want to make it evident that there is a great distance between rtw and high fashion. Young girls buy rtw, while women in their 30s and 40s can buy only in high fashion. This is the only way for them to look right.""I do want to be criticized. I want to hear people saying, 'It's too much, Valentino.' I loath fashion when everything is similar and there is no personality. I prefer a severely criticized style which is mine, rather than a lack of personality."

"I will continue to be criticized for making overly glamorous fashion. This very criticism gives me the validity of being called a chic designer. I prefer to remain in this domain."

"Another serious form of prostitution is runway clothes. Every designer, including myself, puts them in the show for the press, for friends who later buy the prototypes. But this is a part of the business."

"I am not a swinger. I don't have to change my personality."

THE EIGHTIES

"Women sometimes are not able to judge whether they are elegant. It's very difficult for women to be right: mostly, they are too show-off. But you can learn, if you are very humble, you can learn a lot. You need some training to be intelligent. Or you are born with it. It's very difficult."

"I love to talk to people; I love human beings and I care about everybody — maybe too much. Maybe I am too sensitive."

"I hope that the fashion world will remember Valentino for fidelity and being daring. Fidelity is something I feel for my ideas, my work. The way I believe in the same things, fight for them, even if I've been criticized for them, which I think is far more daring than trying to revolutionize fashion every six months. The thing I believe in and for which I think I stand is the respect for the human body, the firm belief that it is a precise duty to look the best one can and not to pass unnoticed in the crowd. Quality is another essential part of my philosophy, and I'm proud that everything I design is conceived keeping in mind the street and not a runway."

"If women are going to look like bag ladies, then that is the day I'm going to retire."

"I was a little boy, four or five years old, and I would ask my mother to change my things when I'd been playing because I could never bear to dirty myself.""I am a boring, a perfectionist unfortunately."

"London fashion is not the clue to world fashion. There is fantasy there, but they cannot dictate fashion in the world."

"If you have an established name and charisma, especially, it's important to have fantasy. Your style has to be changed every season. This is the big mistake — to be alone and say, 'My style is great.'"

THE NINETIES TO NOW

"I have learned so much about Hollywood working with actresses. They don't have a normal woman's expectations walking into a party. All they think about is a grand entrance."

"I hate social life. I love life, friends and communication, but more and more, I love to stay in my homes or in somebody else's houses. I am not so crazy for big events. I never was, except maybe in the Seventies, when life was different."

"I feel at this moment that design is very, very strong. The youngest designers are going back again and again to beauty. They really want to make beautiful dresses."

"I belong with designers who love to create dresses that will be worn. I love beautiful things, but to design clothes that will just stay on a rack, I would not be happy with that." ­

"Sometimes, when I am alone, I think, 'Why are you doing this after so many years?' But I love it and I still have the same enthusiasm."

"In my opinion, you cannot be a designer with lots of creativity if you are not really concerned with what you are doing. You can send lots of assistants around to vintage shows and flea markets and bring things back, but I do not like this way of designing by grabbing."

"When I was a kid, I had to chaperone my sister when she went out with her fiancé. I used to go to the cinema with them to see those beautiful stars, and this made me start to think about design and fashion. Later on, of course, I met these people, but they were not as they were on the screen.""You don't buy paintings like peanuts or sandwiches. You think about it for a second."

"I'm not thinking of retirement. In the future, we'll see. I love my work too much. There's still a lot to do."

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus