Why is the signature Valentino color red? Back when Mr. Valentino was a young designer, just starting out and working at a French fashion house, he traveled to Spain and saw an opera there. “There were so many women dressed in red, and I decided that it was my lucky color. Mine is a special red with orange inside…”
This was just one intriguing tidbit revealed by Mr. Valentino at the Vogue Festival in London last week. Mr. Valentino’s chat with British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman capped off the first day of the event, and the talk was notable for its candor: The packed crowd at the Southbank Centre was treated to Mr. Valentino’s tally of likes (gardening, pugs, London, dressing movie stars like Julia Roberts for the red carpet) and dislikes (vulgarity, Instagram, fashion in the ‘80s), not to mention some behind-the-scenes insight into his design process. “I never do any stitching,” Mr. Valentino told Shulman. “I drape the material on top of the mannequin, I explain to my seamstress how a dress has to be cut… all the details, because I know the detail for inside and outside.”
When Mr. Valentino was introduced, he greeted Shulman with a kiss on the hand—a gesture of typical refinement, and one symbolic of Mr. Valentino’s gentlemanly devotion to womankind. And as he revealed his take on how a woman should dress, he reaffirmed that love and respect, which has been fundamental to his work as a designer over the years. . “I prefer it when a woman wears an enormous skirt, a beautiful blouse with simple shoes, rather than a dress that is too much and not elegant. A dress has to live,” Mr. Valentino asserted to Shulman. “It can’t be wooden.”
The evening began with a kiss; it concluded with a standing ovation.
Photographer Credit: Darren Gerrish