VALENTINO
A 1965 INTERVIEW WITH ROME’S MOST COLORFUL COUTURIER.

Byline: Adriana Grassi, 1965

I adore being simpatico with everybody…and I want no rancor with anybody.”
Valentino backs his words with talent and a driving desire to move ahead. In five years, the young, handsome Roman couturier (whose unused last name is Garavani) has come from a shaky beginning a 9 Via Condotti (some say the address is jinxed), where his early backers cast him adrift, to the crest of the Italian couture. When he had to close his first house, he swore to aim for the number-one couture spot in Italy….”I am an optimist…but also a great hardhead.”
On couture and women: “When a couturier has found his style direction, he should follow it and not try to change. He still has freedom of colors, fabrics and embroideries. Women today want to have a suit they can put on two years from now…nothing is easier to lose than a client who finds the things she buys go out of style too rapidly. In the first place, a woman should dress up…but has lost the habit. Necessarily, her wardrobe should not be too big. It is enough to have two good morning outfits, some three-piece ensembles and a suit or cocktail dress. Boutique articles such as sweaters and skirts I do not want to consider. The things that really make a woman elegant are the accessories…many and expensive. A good suit rarely loses its fashion, but a pair of shoes or a handbag soon lose their freshness. It is things like these that must be renewed continually.
“Women of today have a duty to be soignee. They should be well made up, absolutely wear lipstick — I detest women without lipstick — and be well coiffured, not running around with dangling straight as if they just finished a home shampoo. In this regard, American women can give advice to the Italians. But while an American woman is perfectly neat from morning to evening, she is not so soignee as Europeans and rarely combines her accessories correctly. Italian women are vain, but after a time, they seem to get bored…and I think their attitudes today are a kind of reverse snobbery. They run around from morning to night in sweaters and skirts, which, in my opinion, are for the country, never for the city.
“In my home, I am something of a meticulous old maid…and hate disorder. Often, when I’m in bed reading Mickey Mouse, which is my favorite reading material, I get up to make sure everything is in order in the house.”

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