Valentino to Quit as Fashion Designerby Suzy Menkes
In a dramatic gesture on the eve of the international fashion collections, Valentino, with his partner Giancarlo Giammetti, announced on Tuesday that both would resign from the Valentino company in early 2008.
The news ended speculation that has buzzed around the house since July's star-studded Rome gala celebrating the iconic Italian couturier's 45 years in the business. Valentino, 75, said that after his ready to wear show in Paris in October and his couture collection next January he will leave the company he founded with Giammetti in the early 1960s.
"I would like to leave the party when it is still full," Valentino said in an e-mailed statement.
The designer had previously sold the brand to the Marzotto Group in 2002 and it was sold again earlier this year to the Permira private equity group.
Valentino's departure comes as Permira, based in London, completes that €2.6 billion buyout. Permira's offer for the Valentino Fashion Group, which also includes Hugo Boss, ends Sept. 7, Bloomberg News reported.
Although the designer had repeatedly declined to comment on his putative departure, it was generally assumed that the new owners would bring in younger talent, perhaps with Valentino as a consultant.
Permira itself has not yet made an official announcement. But speculation about Valentino successor has centered on the Italian Alessandra Facchinetti, 35, a former Gucci designer and on the design duo behind the American label Proenza Schouler. The Valentino Fashion Group took a 45 percent stake in that company in July and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, both 29, who are behind Proenza Schouler look to be waiting in the wings.
Executives at Permira and Valentino Fashion Group weren't immediately available to comment.
Valentino Garavani who was trained in Paris and ultimately rose to the dizzy heights of Italian haute couture, has become a fashion legend.
He dressed the famous from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Sophia Loren and a slew of young European roads and Hollywood stars. However, it was Marzotto which turned the company known for its red ink as well as the read carpet, into profit.
The Valentino group is just the latest among brands which are searching for new blood as famous designers reach their 70s and beyond. Yves Saint Laurent made his high profile exit in 2002 and the current YSL designer, the Italian Stefano Pilati, has also been suggested as a possible replacement for Valentino.
Private equity investment in branded companies is current the height of fashion, with shoe maker Jimmy Choo a prime example.
Although Prada is supposedly considering its much-delayed initial public offering and Ferragamo has announced that it plans to go public next year, investors are currently offering big numbers that may ultimately be more attractive to family-owned brands than going to the market.
In his statement, Valentino said he plans to continue working on activities related to fashion, including creating and sustaining institutions dedicated to fashion design and the art of fashion
I think Facchinetti would be good because she worked under one of the most detail-oriented designers. If you change the color palette and some of the cuts, it will work. I think that she would be a nice breath of fresh air. And, I like her as a person now.
i afraid to say that i am happy he is finally steping down... and that is because i think it's very brave of him to say: that is it, i am done!... or in a more valentino way "i'm leaving now that the party is still full"... so yes i am happy for him! (besides... most of his last creations bored me a LOT)
about the next generation:
NO proenza... because as someone mentioned, it's too hit or miss..
NO zac posen... because his work is less valentino inspired than it is valentino knock off (which is tacky)
NO NO NO pilati... because he is perfect for saint laurent
and NO Theyskens... he jsut got to Nina Ricci, and i think he still has to develop a lot there and show us what he can really do, without the pressure of being compared to someone as great as valentino..
According to sources, Valentino's successor has also been secured, although that name won't be released until later this week
The list of rumored designers said to be in contention for the creative helm at Valentino are a group of talented, and eclectic, names. They include such Europeans as Alessandra Facchinetti, the former Gucci designer who is now at Moncler designing the Gamme Rouge line, who is touted as the most likely successor; Giambattista Valli, and Yves Saint Laurent's Stefano Pilati. The only American contenders are said to be Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, whose company sold a 45 percent stake to Valentino in July. Stefano Sassi, chief executive officer of Valentino Fashion Group, became the chairman of Proenza Schouler.
thank you for posting that statement mma...
i knew this day would come, and even though i was never a fan of his designs (for me), he is indeed truly talented...
the fashion world is losing a great designer...someone who encouraged women to dress up, be glamourous and be beautiful...
honestly, jack and lazaro aren't going to give up with they're doing to design for valentino...
the aesthetic is totally different...
pilati is just hitting his stride at ysl and theyskens just arrived at nina ricci...
i can see alessandra there and possibly zac posen...
actually, i think it's zac's dream job, but i don't think he's ready...
what i wonder most of all is what will happen to the couture business...
couture seems to be a dying breed, and with his retirement, they could considering shuttering that side of the business...
i'm having an 'end of an era' moment. valentino, armani and lagerfeld are the last of their generation who continue to produce successful collections. with saint-laurent in poor health and valentino retiring, there a so few greats remaining at the helms of their empires. it's bittersweet because i'm also quite excited for the future, and i think reintroducing youthful talent to valentino will liven things up.