Monday, January 28, 2008

Catfight on the Catwalk

If you are going to piss people off, what better time to do it than before you leave the industry to retire to some small island or village where, hopefully, they cannot find you?

Bringing a catfight to the catwalk seems to be a common occurrence in fashion industry so it should be no surprise to hear of the latest handbags at dawn.  

However, the surprise lies in the origin of the first gauntlet thrown cavalierly into the ring.  Almost on the eve of his final runway collection prior to his retirement, usually circumspect and professional Italian fashion doyen, Valentino Garavani, decided to take the gloves off.

During interviews with Valentino, the man reflected on his illustrious 50-year career and his rivals.  The media fell over themselves in joy as he began to share what he really thought of them.

Dolce & Gabbana, he said, started out "shy to begin with, but now [are] rather arrogant".  He added that "The problem with young stylists is that they all want to be famous straight away and then they all do the same things."

Even in praise of other Italian designers, he was relatively stingy, applying words like "revolutionary" to Giorgio Armani who classily sent a "vibrant red dress down his recent catwalk show in tribute to “the genius of Valentino", who made red dresses his trademark", according to the London Telegraph.

Valentino, left, and Dolce and Gabbana
Valentino wave’s goodbye to his staggering career but not before stirring up design rivals Dolce & Gabbana

Miuccia Prada was described as “stupefying" which I am not sure is a good thing or a bad thing and Donatella Versace was awarded “gritty and determined". 

Dolce & Gabbana were obviously stung by his criticism and rose to defend their £700 million-worth label.  Stefano Gabbana, 46, one half of the labe,l retorted that while Valentino had been throwing unending goodbye parties left and right since last July, they had been working hard and pretty much consigned him to the devil, saying, “To be quite honest, I don’t care what Valentino says about us.”

In true decadent Roman orgy-style, Valentino has been hosting a series of lavish events to mark his retirement.  He's had a party at the Imperial Forum in Rome with a plastic resin replica of an ancient temple and an exhibition at the Ara Pacis museum.

Valentino did not limit his verbal outpourings to just the designers.  He also speculated on supermodel, Naomi Campbell's alleged affair with Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela after her interview with him, which I posted earlier.  He decisively said bollocks to that as he did not think "he is her type, or vice versa", adding that they have different tastes.

It's a good thing he is retiring as that is the only thing retiring about him at the moment.