Every great designer worth a page in fashion history has forged a
legendary style based on a handful of iconic looks. Just ask Valentino: The designer has stuck to his guns, even when that meant shrugging off grunge and minimalism in favor of the chic and genteel looks he favors.
"When a couturier finds his style direction, he should follow it and not try to change. He still has freedom of colors, fabrics and embroideries," Valentino told WWD in 1965. "Women today want to have a suit they can put on two years from now. Because nothing is easier to lose than a client who finds the things she buys go out of style too rapidly."
With that in mind, here is a short list of styles considered to be oh-so-Valentino:
-- Dress for success: For a designer who loved Jackie Kennedy, Marella Caracciolo and Audrey Hepburn, no season is a good one without a fabulous dress. Flippy, slitted, see-through, structured, trimmed in fur, with or without sleeves, the dress has always been a signature Valentino silhouette.
-- Evening glories: Staples of the red carpet, Valentino gowns have glammed up European and American royalty with sculpted styles crafted from whiffs of silk chiffon, Gitano-style stripes or ruffled and embroidered lace.
-- Suited up: Belted or A-line, slim or boxy, with skirts or pants, the designer's suits play up a woman's feminine side. His numerous variations on the theme have kept this wardrobe staple modern and contemporary.
-- Checks and balances: The men's wear-inspired check is a constant in Valentino's equation, in variations ranging from colorful tweeds to macro chevrons and more.
-- Zootopia: In the wrong hands, animal prints risk falling into a tacky trap. Not so for Valentino, who rules the kingdom with leopard spots, zebra stripes and fur.
-- Hot ticket: HotPants were Valentino's idea of sexy in the Seventies, when versions in bright red and silk satin peeped out of slitted coats and long white cardigans or were tossed over brightly colored stockings.
-- Ruffled affair: Valentino has rarely left things unruffled. They appear in allover cascades or demure edges, where they go it solo or appear in tandem with bows and embroidery.-- Patterned out: Dots, camellias and butterflies have always upped the romance on Valentino's runways, especially in muted sherbet hues.
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