NEW YORK — Valentino is this year’s honoree of the annual Couture Council Award for artistry of fashion.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Sept. 7 — a day before New York Fashion Week kicks off — the designer will be in town to receive the nod by the The Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology at a luncheon gala at Avery Fisher Hall.

“I have always admired FIT so much and I am so happy to have the chance to work with them,” Valentino said in a telephone interview from London. “I am looking forward to meeting the students and to talk to them. It’s such a tremendous honor to receive it, especially as it is related to couture, which everybody knows has always been my passion and the center of my work. This is very important.”

Valentino is in good company with this new honor. Last year, the council awarded Karl Lagerfeld and raised more than $600,000 at the luncheon. Previous honorees include Dries Van Noten, Isabel Toledo, Giorgio Armani, Alber Elbaz and Ralph Rucci.

In a career that has spanned nearly five decades, Valentino dressed everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly to Farah Diba and Daphne Guinness, whose own personal wardrobe will be on show at FIT this September, and who will serve as one of the luncheon’s chairmen.

Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, noted that Valentino “dedicated his whole life to creating the most beautiful, perfect example of high fashion, which is really rare and valuable. You can see his incredible dedication to the technique of couture and his exquisite, perfect taste combined with an almost fanatical perfectionism.”

Those who will need to brush up on some of their Valentino facts before the luncheon will have a new resource to do so this summer. Valentino is currently busy completing his virtual archive, which he expects to unveil in July. “It will be possible to navigate through the archives and see a lot of my work, photos, articles and drawings…everything concerning Valentino,” he said.

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