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PARIS – The creative roadmap for high fashion – the designer’s illustration – are being given an unprecedented showcase as the new Valentino Garavani Archives are unveiled here during couture week.


On Wednesday night, such Valentino faithful as Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes will get a sneak peek of the private museum, which is to welcome students and the public by appointment from mid-September. It is housed in a 21,500-square-foot building at the Domaine de Wideville, the retired couturier’s 17th-century residence outside Paris.


“You will see, stroke by stroke, how Valentino draws,” enthused Giancarlo Giammetti, hoisting an iPad showing a ruffled dress and sweeping hat come to life from thin, black pencil lines. “We cannot forget that Valentino never drew for himself. He did the designs for the atelier to be able to do the clothes.”


The archives assemble more than 10,000 such sketches, each with detailed notations, along with documentation galore: some 120,000 press articles, 100 hours of video footage, 2,000 personal letters and original photos by the likes of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.


Dresses – 12,000 of which belong to the Valentino company and are housed in Rome and Valdagno, Italy – will be displayed on a rotating basis according to the themes of upcoming exhibitions.

For complete coverage, see Tuesday’s issue of WWD.

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