Celebrating forty years of fashion and his lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Animal Fair honors this remarkable designer not only for his extraordinary talent,but also for his passion for pets.
You know him simply as Valentino. His gowns have adorned some of the most stunning women of our time from Elizabeth Taylor to Elle MacPherson to the late Princess Diana. At age seventeen, young Valentino Garavani walked into the world of fashion and never looked back. Valentino was five years old when he developed a passion for dogs, particularly strays. The designer has rescued many dogs during his long career—most recently, a shepherd-mix named Stella. He spotted her one-day while leaving work, a seemingly lost and hungry dog roaming the streets near the airport. Stella soon joined the Valentino family, which includes two poodles that belonged to his late sister, and six others. Those six others, Monty, Milton, Maude, Margot, Maggie and Molly, share not only Valentino’s appreciation for the letter M, but his great love of a special breed: the pug.
How does he manage to keep his place so immaculate with nine dogs, four of which are puppies, roaming about? “I treat them as children,”he says.“Where discipline and love is needed, discipline and love is given.” Perhaps this is why Valentino has never owned a cat.
In the 1980s,Valentino “unleashed” a very successful line of clothing aimed at the young and trendy. The line was called “Oliver” after—you guessed it—his pet pug.With the Oliver collection, Valentino created an emblem of principles that elicited love, caring and family values; a story of passion and love embodied in fashion history. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a new line of doggie clothing; Valentino swears you’ll never see it. “I find it demeaning and ridiculous,” he declares. “[My dogs] are not clowns or little dress up dolls and should not be treated as such.” Valentino’s canine crew sport simple collars, and when necessary, a sweater for warmth. As the designer continues to expand his trend-setting styles and his chain of worldwide boutiques,we will surely see another forty years of elegance, passion and pugs.