Born Valentino Garavani, he moved to Paris at age 17 to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Chambre Syndicale. He served apprenticeships with Jean Desses and Guy Laroche before returning to Italy and founding his business in Rome in 1959. His first international showing was in Florence in 1962 and he has become prominent in Paris and Italy, with numerous product licenses. In design, he is known for a luxurious Italian jet-set look, lots of white, gold and animal prints, with fine workmanship. Retired in 2007. Alessandra Facchinetti, previously with Gucci, named as designer 2008.