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After 45 years as the head of the fashion house which bears his name, the legendary designer has announced he will step down at the beginning of next year
Photo: © AFP
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The 75-year-old - pictured at a show with Naomi Campbell - will go down in style history as one of fashion's true icons
Photo: © AFP

Fashion maestro Valentino announces he'll retire in January

5 SEPTEMBER 2007

He's a fashion icon of our times whose catwalk shows have been the toast of the design world for decades. But for Valentino Garavani the end of the runway is in sight after he named the date for his retirement.

The 75-year-old Italian - who is a favourite with the likes of Liz Hurley, Elle Macpherson and Elizabeth Taylor - is to step down as chief designer of the fashion house which bears his name in January, after his final haute couture collection is unveiled in Paris.

"I have decided that this is the perfect moment to say addio to the fashion world," says the designer. "As the English say, I would like to leave the party when it is full."

Valentino - who last month celebrated 45 years in the business with three days of lavish parties in Rome - has long hinted that the time was approaching when he would make way for younger talent. Although his successor is yet to be named, possible candidates are said to include former Gucci designer Alessandra Fachinetti.

The design maestro's retirement will not mark his disappearance from the fashion world altogether, though. His future, he said, is "full of new ventures and and interests" linked to the style world, including supporting "institutions that promote the study design and the art of fashion".

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