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If Valentino launched today ‘we’d be doing slow fashion’ - Giancarlo Giammetti

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Valentino HQ Credits: Valentino

The business of Valentino has changed hands more than that of other luxury brands, yet the brand's cachet remains undiminished despite a roster of different owners. Now under Kering's portfolio, who acquired a 30 percent stake from Qatari investment vehicle Mayhoola, Valentino has weathered multiple ownership transitions and maintained its influence.

In the sixties and seventies, Valentino, then designed by founder Valentino Garavani and managed by partner Giancarlo Giammetti, adorned the elite of society and Hollywood, from Jackie Onassis to Elizabeth Taylor. Today, the brand continues to wield significant influence in the same echelons, with actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Hathaway honouring the designer with a lifetime achievement award at the British Fashion Awards this week.

This award comes 15 years after Mr. Garavani (91) and Giammetti (85) retired from the brand when it was sold to Permira for 2.6 billion dollars in 2007, marking its fourth sale and change of ownership since 1998.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr. Giammetti, who accepted the award on Mr. Garavani's behalf, mentioned that Valentino could not launch today as it did in the past. He highlighted the industry's shift, where meetings are now centered around financial considerations rather than design. Sales forecasts determine what gets created, and conglomerates enforce a standardised business model across labels.

Launching today would necessitate adopting a slow fashion approach, prioritising quality over quantity and inviting a select audience to purchase.

Embracing slow fashion

While some brands that flourished in earlier eras have pivoted from their original ethos to meet revenue goals, Valentino has maintained its distinctive identity. In contrast, brands like Givenchy, now owned by LVMH, have evolved considerably from their high-fashion roots.

In the current fashion landscape, data-driven decision-making takes precedence, and design often takes a back seat to financial considerations. This paradigm shift has led to a homogenisation of individual labels under conglomerates, eroding their unique identities.

Embracing the slow fashion movement places emphasis on craftsmanship, durability, and ethical practices. However, it also reduces the likelihood of achieving billion-dollar valuations. In this approach, success is not measured solely by the quantity of garments manufactured but by the esteem earned for craftsmanship, possibly complemented by a few strategic licenses on the side.

Giancarlo Giammetti