Rome to roll out red carpet for Valentino's fashion milestone

ROME, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - Italian fashion designer Valentino will next month break with a 17-year tradition of unveiling his luxurious haute couture collections for women in Paris. Instead, to mark the 45th anniversary of his design house, the veteran 75-year-old designer is returning to Rome to present his made-to-order creations for autumn-winter 2007-08 on July 7.


Valentino - Photo : Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

As well as the show, a host of events is planned to celebrate the milestone in the city where the designer, christened Valentino Garavani but known the world over simply by his first name, opened his first atelier in 1959.

He went on to make his name with his first collection unveiled in 1962.

Some 300 garments viewed as emblematic of the couturier's style go on display in a retrospective, "Valentino in Rome: 45 years of Style", opening at the Ara Pacis museum on July 6.

After the couture show, a private gala evening is planned due to be attended by super-models Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson, as well as US actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Meryl Streep.

"I am always looking, through my work, to make Italy known across the world," Valentino told reporters, joining Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni and Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli Wednesday to outline the programme for the 45th anniversary celebrations.

Paying tribute to the designer, Veltroni said Valentino was a "great producer of beauty". "Valentino, this extraordinary Italian, has crossed the history of fashion and is also one of these names which symbolises Italy in the world."

For 17 years, Valentino, known for his signature red and sumptuous floor-sweeping gowns, has presented his women's collections in Paris.

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