Which country owns a major European fashion house? If you were thinking of Italy or France, you’d be mistaken. Qatar, a tiny state on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, owns historic Italian fashion brand Valentino.
Founded in 1960 in Rome by Valentino Garavani, this brand is synonymous with luxury and masculinity. It’s known the world over for its incredibly high quality and the timeless nature of its designs. The company was created with the financial support of Garavani’s father and partnering business associate Giancario Giammetti. Though it opened its first location in Rome in 1960, eventually it moved its headquarters to Milan.
Valentino’s popularity blasted onto the scene from its very first runway show in Florence in 1962. Over the next thirty years, it would become an increasingly potent luxury brand, with runway shows around the world and high profile clients.
In the late 1990’s, Valentino began going through a series of buyouts that would affect not only the look and feel of the company, but its client reach as well. The original owners, Garavani and Giammetti, sold the company to an Italian mega corporation called HdP. This company was in part owned by Gianni Agelli, the head of Fiat. Shortly after, HdP sold Valentino again, this time to a huge textile corporation based in Milan called Marzotto Apparel. This move was controversial as there were widespread rumors at the time that the sale happened because HdP was frustrated at ballooning personal expenses of the company owners.
Marzotto Apparel would go on to grow the company and increase its reach well beyond its previous form, making Valentino more widely available and thus accessible to a much bigger audience.
The changing of hands didn’t stop there. Valentino was bought by the State of Qatar in 2012 for seven hundred million euros.
Stepping Off the Runway
Though Valentino first became known for its fashion, like rival fashion houses Givenchy and Armani it branched out into other ventures. Most notably is Valentino perfume, a division of the company that was bought by perfume company Puig in 2010. The perfumes of Valentino go all the way back to 1978, when its first perfume Valentino Classique for Women debuted.
Vision from the Rome
From the time of the company’s founding, it’s only had five creative directors. This is a remarkable feat for a company that is more than fifty years old.
From its opening until 2007, Valentino Garavani served as the director of the company. In 2007, Alessandra Facchinetti took over for a term that only lasted for a single year. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli shared the prestigious position from 2008 to 2016 along with Pierpaolo Piccioli, the last of whom continues to be the visionary for the company.
This consistent vision and legacy has led Valentino to be one of the most consistent and reliable luxury brands in the world. Like other luxury brands, it’s marketing relies heavily on the influential people who support it. Valentino is famous for designing wedding dresses for actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Hunter, Anne Hathaway, and Elizabeth Taylor. In addition, the company designed the wedding dress for Princess Madeleine of Sweden.
Valentino is the world’s fastest growing luxury brand, proving that consistency and high quality pay off.