The Valentino Garavani Archives

    This week, we bring you an advanced look into a newly created virtual archive of the legendary designer, Valentino Garavani. This museum of sorts was created by Valentino's long-time business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, and is the first of its kind. Anyone who is interested in fashion will love to peruse the gorgeous collections of iconic dresses that comprise Valentino's life's work. Click on the photos for the start of the tour and the whole site goes live Monday.


    The Entrance to the Museum

    Q & A with Giancarlo Giammetti:

    Q: Why did you decide to create this, can we say, virtual museum?

    A: "Real museums need an enormous investment and the assurance that they will exist for years, even decades, and in a perfect way. This is difficult to achieve in today's economy. So I asked myself if it would be possible to create a vast computer-generated museum?

    We have kept an organized archive since the seventies that represents an enormous testimony from these years. With expert designers, I was able to create an architecture that belongs to Italy and especially to Rome, Valentino's epicenter, which is described by light and shade, 'chiaroscuro', and at the same time is 'unbuildable' … an architecture only possible in a computer-generated world.

    Animated galleries show a life's work, and hundreds of key dresses have been photographed revolving 360 degrees to show every line and stitch.

    One click on the dress and the user can discover its history—who wore it, where, and when. Five thousand documents, photos, and 190 videos make up the Museum's database."

    Q: How long did it take to create the Museum?

    A: "Almost two years … but as I said, we have been preparing the archives for the past forty years."

    Q: Tell us about the concept behind it—what have you included and what did you want to convey?

    A: "I wanted to give a complete vision of Valentino's work, not just the dresses, but the world in which they were born. Fashion is very much a mirror of the times."

    Q: You have spent so much of your life directing the business so that Valentino could create. When you look at these decades of beautiful dresses, how does it make you feel?

    A: "I still discover things that I have not noticed or have just forgotten. But the real feeling is that I have been close to one genius, somebody with an idea in mind, to make women beautiful—and he was faithful to this and never came off this track."

    I had two consecutive Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and Friday and so here's what I'm listening to for post-Thanksgiving cardio. I am obsessed with these songs:

    Feel so Close (Extended Mix)
    by Calvin Harris

    Motivation (Rebel Rock Mix) [feat. Lil Wayne]
    by Kelly Roland

    You Got to Go (Kyau and Albert Remix) [feat. Zoë Johnston]
    by Above & Beyond

    Q & A with Giancarlo Giammetti:

    Q: Will this archive have a technical aspect so that fashion students can study it? Are there measurements and the thinking behind some of those?

    A: "Of course, the fact that one can zoom in on the clothes and turn them at 360 degrees is a great opportunity to understand the craftsmanship and the couture detailing, the subtlety of the seams and the splendor of the embroidery."

    An example of the way each dress is archived and complemented with technical and historical information. This design was worn by Jackie O when she married Aristotle Onassis in 1968.

    Q & A with Valentino:

    Q: Do you think you will look back through this archive from time to time to see your life's work? When you first looked through it all in one place, how did it make you feel?

    A: "Of course, in 47 years of designing, where I did personally design every dress, every button, every stitch, I remember most of my collections, but sometimes it's good to remember the life behind a dress, the moment of my life when I did it, and the stories related to it."

    Q: What would you say are the five most iconic outfits you have designed?

    A: "I can talk about the most famous, not necessarily the most iconic, for me personally. But Jackie Kennedy Onassis' wedding dress, the Oscar dress of Julia Roberts that started the "Vintage Mania," the White Collection coat with gold V's … these are all among these famous dresses."

    Jackie O's wedding dress.

    A view of the "Black & White" room includes Julia Roberts' Oscar dress.

    "…the White Collection coat with gold V's"

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    Q: Are there any rules for dressing?

    A: "Do not copy the total look of a picture in a fashion magazine. Just take the pieces that you really like and forget the ones you know are not for you."

    Q: What should a woman never wear?

    A: "Lady Gaga's clothes."

    Q: When you look through this amazing archive did you ever wish you had done something differently?

    A: "I don't know ... I really did my work with conviction and honesty. I never tried to do things I was not convinced of."

    Q: You have achieved everything that a fashion designer can achieve and have become a living legend. Is there anything you would still like to explore in the world of costumes or fashion?

    A: "I love designing and now I am very interested in theatre and ballet costumes. I hope I will be able to experience this part of fashion."

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    The goop collection