PARIS When Valentino bids farewell to fashion Wednesday night after a glittering 45-year career, he’s going to take his sweet time.


“I must leave a souvenir to all of my friends of something to remember, not five seconds of show,” he said of his 75-exit swan song couture collection, which will parade under the vaulted ceilings of a giant tent in the gardens of the Musée Rodin.


“I really enjoyed very, very much making this collection and, on purpose, I decided to make it a little bit bigger. So for my last show, [my guests] can be seated maybe 15 minutes longer than usual.”
Leisurely though his show might be, the Roman couturier is not looking to fan any emotions of the moist variety.


“Very happy, not sad at all,” he replied when asked about the mood he’s after for his final show, to be attended by the likes of Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler and Elizabeth Hurley. “It’s a happy collection. It’s not a collection with tears in between.”


In separate interviews here Monday at Valentino’s gilded salons on the Place Vendôme, the designer and his longtime business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, spoke in frank, upbeat terms about their lives after retirement — while holding out hope that couture would continue to thrive after their departure. “We are very serene, very happy,” Valentino said, flashing a big smile. “We end a cycle in our life and a new one is starting. I am especially happy because I leave one very happy career, a career that gave me a lot.”


For more, see Tuesday’s issue of WWD.


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