Stunning Valentino Haute Couture (1960s)

By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favorite designer of the world’s best-dressed women.

Valentino’s international debut took place in 1962, at the Pitti Palace in Florence. The show cemented the designer’s reputation and attracted the attention of socialites and aristocratic women from around the world. Within a few years, Valentino’s designs were considered the pinnacle of Italian couture. In 1967, he received the prestigious Neiman Marcus Fashion Award.

His client list included the Begum Aga Khan, Queen Paola of Belgium and movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. Jacqueline Kennedy developed an interest in the designer’s work after admiring friends in several Valentino ensembles. In 1964, Kennedy ordered six dresses in black and white, which she wore during the year following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy (source).

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In July 1962 in the last hour on the last day of the Autumn shows Valnetino was given an opportunity to present a collection that became known as Sala Bianca. The designs were showcased at the stunning ball room, the White Hall, of the Pitti Palce. Overnight, Valentino Garavani was famous internationally via

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Valentino Fashion Show, Salla Bianca, Palazzo Pitti, Firenze, 1964 via

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In 1964 Jacqueline Kennedy chose a Valentino dress for the wedding with Aristotle Onassis. The gown was a part of the Sfilata Bianca collection shown in 1968. If Valentino was a fashion darling of the global press and buyers before, Sfilata Bianca (and its connection to Jackie Onassis) was the final step in conquering the States and securing his position as one of the best and most influential fashion designers of our time via

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Valentino, Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1968 via

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Valentino, Vogue, 1968 via

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Veruschka, Valentino, Vogue, 1965 via

Costume and Fashion Designer Oleg Cassini (1913-2006)

Oleg Cassini (1913 – 2006) was an American fashion designer born to an aristocratic Russian family with maternal Italian ancestry. He came to the United States as a young man after starting as a designer in Rome, and quickly got work with Paramount Pictures.

Cassini established his reputation by designing for films. He gained additional renown by designing for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. “The Jackie Look” was highly influential in American design.

He also designed for Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and Gene Tierney whom he married in 1941; they separated after the birth of their first daughter. She began a romance with John F. Kennedy. Their romance was short lived as he could never marry her because of his political ambitions. She reconciled with Cassini and they had a second daughter. This marriage lasted until 1952 and they remained friends.

After his divorce Cassini and Grace Kelly were briefly engaged, but her family would not approve the marriage as he was 16 years her senior, twice divorced, had 2 children and was non-catholic.

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Oleg Cassini designed this gown for Gene Tierney, though a speedy elopement meant it was never made and worn. Five years later, the gown saw the light of day for Gene’s role in the movie Razor’s Edge (1946), for which Oleg designed her costumes via

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Marilyn wore a smoldering red Oleg Cassini velvet gown to accept her Best Young Box Office Personality award in 1951. She later wore it for a sensual publicity portrait via

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Grace Kelly at the premiere of Rear Window, 1954. Her dress was designed by Oleg Cassini who was her escort that evening. Photo by Frank Worth via

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Oleg Cassini dressing Lana Turner via

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis in iconic 1961 Presidential Inauguration gown by Oleg Cassini via