Valentino became interested in fashion while in primary school. At 17, Valentino moved to Paris to pursue this interest with the help of his mother Teresa de Biaggi and his father Mauro Garavani. There he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
He then found apprentice jobs with Jean Desses where he used to help style icon countess Jacqueline de Ribes sketch her dress ideas.
He then joined Guy Desses for 2 years. At Desses, Valentino sketched furiously, between helping with window dressing and greeting clients for the daily 2:30 p.m. private showings. Most of his early sketches were lost.
At a Rome exhibition in 1991 a smattering went on display and current clients at that time such as Marie Helene de Rothschild and Elizabeth Taylor marveled that the DNA of Valentino's style was already apparent in the layers of white pleats and animal prints.
Valentino became known for his red dresses, in the bright shade that became known in the fashion industry as "Valentino red".
Valentino's international debut took place in 1962 in Florence, the Italian fashion capital of the time. His first show at the Pitte Palace was welcomed as a true revelation and the young couturier was submerged by orders from foreign buyers and enthusiastic comments on the press.
In 1966, confident of his client base, he moved his shows from Florence to Rome and there, two years later, he had one of his greatest triumphs, an all-white collection, which became famous for the "V" logo he designed.
In 1964 Jacqueline Kennedy had seen Gloria Schiff , the twin sister of the Rome-based fashion editor of American Vogue , wearing an ensemble in two pieces in black organza at a party. Jackie called Gloria Schiff to learn the name of the designer and found out it was Valentino. In September 1964, Valentino had a show at the Waldorf-Astoria for a benefit. Since Jackie wanted to see the clothes, he sent his saleslady, along with a model, to Jackie's apartment on Fifth Avenue. Mrs. Kennedy ordered six of his couture dresses, all in black and white, to wear during her year of mourning after President John F Kennedysdeath. From then on, she became a devoted client and friend. Later on, Valentino would also design the white dress that Jackie wore to her wedding with Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis .
Jaqueline Kennedys wedding dress.