By  on June 27, 2007

A double width of red silk almost as emblematic of Valentino as the man himself is unfurled across a table in the designer's hushed atelier, attended to by a half-dozen women in white lab coats, setting out to realize another handmade high-fashion creation, one stitch at a time.

Although he's now a pillar of Rome, Valentino Garavani was hardly greeted as a hometown hero in 1959, when he decamped from Jean Dessès in Paris and set up his own couture house on the Via Condotti.

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