Valentino is congratulated by his old friend Karl Lagerfield after receiving a medal for his contribution to the fashion industry
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In the evening everyone who is anyone, including models Natalia and Claudia, stepped out to an exclusive fashion gala
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Fellow guests at the Pavillon d'Armenonville bash were Diane Kruger and her actor boyfriend Joshua
Photo: Getty Images

Retiring Valentino honoured with medal and Paris citizenship

25 JANUARY 2008
While the focus of Paris fashion week is naturally its catwalks, there's always plenty happening outside the shows. Among this week's off-runway action was a ceremony honouring retiring fashion maestro Valentino for his services to the fashion industry.

The designer, who had just presented his last ever haute couture show, received the French honour from the mayor of Paris in front of VIP guests, including Claudia Schiffer and Diane Kruger. And it wasn't just a medal being bestowed, the Italian couturier was also made an honorary citizen of the French capital.

On hand to support Valentino was fellow fashionista and close pal Karl Lagerfield, who took the opportunity to reminisce about the pair's enduring friendship. "My favorite moment with Valentino?" he pondered... "Dancing in Paris nightclubs when we were in our 20s."

Asked what he's planning to do now he has retired from fashion, Valentino replied: "I would love to do something fabulous for the ballet". There's no chance of him giving up on design altogether it seems. "Certainly I'm not the sort of person to sit all day long watching television!" he says.

There was further fashion mingling later that evening when guests including Russian model Natalia Vodianova and German beauty Claudia Schiffer joined Troy star Diane Kruger and boyfriend Joshua Jackson for a gala dinner in the Pavillon d'Armenonville. Also catching up with la crme de la crme of the fashion set were Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy and his wife, the former French actress Clotilde Courau