Fashion

After 45 illustrious years the Italian couturier has presented his last ever couture show
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Delicate floral prints were a predominant theme among the 74-creation collection, which included this billowing Southern belle-style gown
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A body-sculpting white dress with crystal edging summed up Valentino's old-school glamour
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End of an era as Valentino presents his last haute couture show

24 JANUARY 2008
In an appropriate end to his final couture show Valentino Garavani bade farewell surrounded by models all wearing the same iconic, lipstick-red dress which the maestro has made his hallmark. The front row was predictably glamorous, filled with names from high fashion, showbiz and royalty.

Actresses Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman took up their places either side of the couturier's long-term partner Giancarlo Giammetti, while Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Miuccia Prada, Claudia Schiffer, and Marie-Chantal of Greece were also there to salute the man known as 'Le Chic'.

The spring/summer collection exuded the quintessential feminine elegance that has defined Valentino's 45-year career. Among the 74 satin bow-, lace- and crystal-embellished creations were sophisticated cocktail sheaths, timeless satin column dresses and impeccable suits for ladies who lunch. The most romantic offerings, though, were undoubtedly the Southern belle-style floral gowns, which wouldn't have looked amiss in Gone With The Wind.

It was no wonder the 75-year-old designer received an emotional five minute-long ovation as the show came to close. He managed to resist tears, however, as the curtain came down on his illustrious career. All he ever wanted, he says, was to make women beautiful. And for those lucky enough to own one of his designs, he surely achieved that. All eyes will now be on his successor, ex-Gucci designer Alessandra Facchinetti, who will no doubt find him a hard act to follow.