Valentino announces retirement

Valentino is calling it a day. The Italian couturier announced his retirement effective after the couture show in January 2008 on Tuesday, which will also see the departure of his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti. In his statement, Valentino made no reference to any successor, although inside sources and WWD said it could be Alessandra Facchinetti, the former women’s wear designer at Gucci.

Valentino’s 45th anniversary earlier this year was by many regarded as a strategy to exit the house. The designer himself commented he could not surpass the extraordinary reactions from the industry and said: “The great event that celebrated my 45 years of work in Rome in July was a magical and unrepeatable moment. It would be impossible to match the emotion and the joy for the friendship and consideration that the whole world expressed. Thus, I have decided that this is the perfect moment to say goodbye to the fashion world.”

Dubbed by WWD “The Chic,” the couturier dressed some of the most stylish women in the world, from Jackie Onassis to Audrey Hepburn to Elizabeth Taylor to Babe Paley.

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“My thanks go to the thousands of people in fashion, who have followed me in these years and to all of those who have supported my work and to my collaborators that have helped turn my career into a success,” Valentino’s statement concluded.

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