Fashionista Street: Valentino at Musée Rodin

Valentino's finale at the Rodin Museum was bathed in red, his favorite color. (Jean-Luce Huré for The New York Times)
Valentino’s finale at the Rodin Museum was bathed in red. [Photo by Jean-Luce Huré for NYT]

To the storied history of the Hôtel Biron– Rodin’s studio, Sister of Icarus, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet — add this: Valentino Garavani’s haute couture finale. After a 45-year run, Valentino sold the shop last year for 2.6 billion Euros. “Ive proven everything I have to prove,” he said on France 24.

Valentino’s career closed before it could be fully absorbed, according to NYT’s Cathy Horyn:

On Wednesday night, at the Rodin Museum, he closed the spring 2008 haute couture collections and at the same time ended 45 years in fashion. The models wore identical red dresses for the finale, so that the room seemed bathed in his favorite color. The audience stood, the applause started, and Valentino walked briskly to the end of the runway, dry-eyed and tanned from a ski holiday in Gstaad.

One of the locomotives of Valentino’s career, and that as well of his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, was that he allowed the media — and, by extension, the public — to see how lavishly he lived, whether in Rome, London or Gstaad. Although he regarded himself as a serious-minded designer, trained in Paris, few of his contemporaries seemed to derive as much pleasure from their lives. It showed in the clothes he made.

As the milliner Philip Treacy, who did the hats for the final show, said, “He’s the only designer who lived the life that people think designers should live.”

That was Horyn’s story for the paper. In her blog post for On the Runway, she revealed the less than glamorous fashionista life backstage:

I saw Uma [Thurmond] ahead of me. I caught up with Uma in the backstage and asked her what she thought of the show, half embarrassed that I bothered. “I have no comment to make at this time,” she said, as if she had said it a million times before. Okay. Wouldn’t “beautiful” have worked just as well? I turned away, toward the mob of photographers and models, all of them in identical red dresses, gathering with intensity around Valentino. Natalia V. had tears welling in her eyes. I saw Carlos Souza, who has done the press for Valentino for years, and I asked him if the girls were going to keep their red dresses. They’d all came out in red for the finale. “For sure!” he said, watching Valentino and the mob. Later, I asked one of the models about it and the look she gave me said, “Are you kidding?”

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