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Stars turn out for Valentino's anniversary show

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

ROME, July 8 (Reuters) Valentino reminded a crowd of movie A-listers and top designers why he's dressed the stars for nearly half a century with an haute couture show conceived as a crescendo to his anniversary extravaganza.

Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace and Tom Ford yesterdayjoined movie stars Uma Thurman and Sarah Jessica Parker on the front row for a catwalk spectacular drawing on symbols of the Italian ''dolce vita'' -- opera, glamorous gowns and gelato.

Valentino, famed for his lipstick red evening dresses, gave them a show wreathed with the opulence that has defined his career since he dressed Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s.

It was the centrepiece of three days of parties marking his 45 years as a designer and attracting the kind of slew of stars usually reserved for the Academy Awards.

Mick Jagger, Sienna Miller and Maggie Cheung joined revellers at the after-party in Rome's Villa Borghese.

''I love Valentino. His dresses are so elegant and feminine.

They are a pleasure and a privilege to wear,'' Thurman said.

At the show in a 12th century basilica near the Vatican, models wore day wear skirt suits webbed with lace work before switching into floor-skimming gowns glittering with diamante in blacks, whites, pastels and Valentino's signature red.

Fur, feathers and embroidery accentuated waists and shoulders while discs of chiffon on coats and sleeves lent the effect of scoops of ice cream.

''It was beautiful. I loved the ice cream dresses, the sorbet dresses. The pink and the purple ones were the best,'' said up-and-coming US designer Zac Posen, another front row guest.

THE FUTURE Valentino, who has repeatedly denied the celebrations are a prelude to his retirement, closed the show in a white suit and in tears met by a standing ovation from the crowd and the strains of Giacomo Puccini's ''O Mio Babbino Caro''.

''That seemed the show of a young man with a great future ahead of him,'' said Andre Leon Talley, US Vogue editor-at-large and a front row regular for 25 years.

The future for Valentino, now in his seventies, has been the subject of rumours in the run-up to event, which immediately followed Paris haute couture week.

The famed fashion house landed in the grasp of a European private equity group, Permira, in May and a takeover is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Industry watchers are sceptical the new owners, whose trade is to cut costs and boost profits, will sanction the lavish spending that has defined Valentino's career. He reportedly spent 270,000 dollars to rebuild a temple in the Roman Forum temporarily for dinner on the opening night of the celebrations.

Although Valentino's business partner Giancarlo Giammetti said it would be business as usual under the new owners, he failed to clear a lingering sense of the end of an era.

''It seems like a retirement,'' said Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova.

REUTERS KK KP0848

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