Winter is not a time of year to which I necessarily look forward. I prefer the Spring and Autumn, but when those first crisp days of the season arrive, the first thing I do is pull out my favorite Valentino cashmere coat. It's grey with a luscious mink collar, epaulettes and the chicest belt this side of Milan. No one makes me feel more like a man than Valentino Garavani.
For those of you who don't know Valentino (and I couldn't begin to imagine who you are), he is the most iconic Italian designer the past four decades has seen. His work has graced more of the world's most celebrated actresses, royalty and figures of society than anyone else.
The Red Room in Valentino Garavani's Virtual Museum
Today, he is launching the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum. Can you even stand it? This is the first time a designer has curated a permanent exhibition of their work in digital form. The museum, an application downloaded to your desktop and connected to an online database, allows you to explore a multitude of galleries showcasing 50 years of work, including over 100 fashion show videos and 5,000 dresses. Normally, this would cover over 32,000 square feet in an actual museum, but for the great Valentino, it is all presented on your desktop.
In light of this very special occasion, Valentino took the time out of his very digital new schedule to answer some very pressing questions I had for him...
You retired in 2008, but it seems that you are now busier than ever before. What is it that keeps you from slowing down?
Don't believe that I am going to sit on a bench in the park and feed the birds! I love to be busy...
Today you're launching the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum. Where did this idea come from and how do you think it will effect the future of the fashion industry?
The idea is not mine... It's Giancarlo Giammetti's complete creation. My creations are inside the museum!! After I saw the museum, I understood how different and easy it is to be able to see thousands of documents, dressess, videos without moving from your room and still have the sensation of walking in a space dedicated to fashion. It is very exciting and give you the enduring power to stay as long as you want.
How did you ensure that the quality of your designs...the silhouettes, the stitching, the embroidery, the intricate beading...was translated properly into this virtual reality? What was the process of the technological recreation?
We did not have to translate. They are there. Photographed in 360 degrees, with the possibility to zoom in on them. The only missing sense is the touch. No you cannot touch it!
Do your pugs make an appearance in the museum?
Yes, in some of the pictures.
With this incredible achievement now complete, what is next for Valentino?
The virtual museum will never be complete. We plan to add new exciting rooms all the time!
Last question...what is your favorite Standard and why?
I am the number one fan of The Standard, New York. I consider it the ultimate chic place for fun in the nightlife of NY. I staged already 2 parties there and always come back for more.
Because Valentino is a force with which you just can't keep up, he asked me to have you follow him via his Facebook, his Twitter and his YouTube channel. Who knew he was so up to date on technology? Makes me feel old.
Congrats, Val! See you in Rome...