This short piece of prose follows the life of the famous Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani. I juxtapose my life and his out of interest in his life and to help gain a perspective on mine. I am a very small player on the world stage; indeed I only really exist on that world stage of cyberspace in nanoseconds among the billions of sites and trillions of bits of information. Valentino Garavani, on the other hand, became a big player on the big stage of contemporary society in the last half century.
In 1959 Valentino Garavani, having completed his fashion studies in Paris and an apprenticeship with Jean Desses and Guy Laroche, started up his first fashion design studio, his own atelier as they call it in French, in Rome. He was 27. At the time he had a lover, French socialite Gerald Nanty. He opened his fashion house on the posh Via Condotti with the backing of his father. More than an atelier, a simple fashion house for a designer, the premises resembled a real maison de couture, being very much on the line of what Valentino had seen in Paris. Everything was very grand and models flew in from Paris for his first show. Valentino became known for his red dresses, in the bright shade that became known in the fashion industry as "Valentino red".
In 1959, I knew nothing of Valentino, women�s fashion, or men�s for that matter. I was only 15 years old in 1959. I lived in a small town in southern Ontario, was in grade 10, in love with several girls who had no idea of my love for them. I threw myself into sport and schoolwork with an enthusiasm that took care of�sublimated it is sometimes said--any love, any interest, for/in the opposite sex. I also joined a new religion which had been in Canada at the time for over 60 years: the Baha�i Faith. I would not take a lover until 1965 and, then, only for several months in a quite casual affair to help revlieve depression as my mother had advised. That affair, at the time or even now, could in some ways hardly be called �taking a lover.�
Valentino�s first collection for the international fashion industry was in 1962, the year I began my travelling-pioneering for the Canadian Baha�i community. I was 18 and he was 40. By late 1965 Valentino was recognized as the top name in Italian Haute Couture and by that same time I had decided on a direction for my career: to become a primary school teacher among Canada�s Inuit people.
In 1971, the year I moved from Canada to Australia, Valentino opened his first menswear shop. In 1984, the year I began my fifteenth year as a teacher, I also began what became my five volume 2600 page memoir; Valentino celebrated his twenty-fifth year in the fashion business and received an official award from the Minister for Industry in Italy in that same year: 1984. George Orwell�s literary political fiction, 1984 was a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre. That year had finally arrived.
In 1992 the exhibition at the Accademia Valentino entitled "La seduzione da Boucher a Warhol," the "Valentino: Thirty Years of Magic"' was invited to go to New York to coincide with the 500th year celebration of the discovery of America. The year 1992 was a very big year for the international Baha�i community: the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of Baha�u�llah, the Founder of this new Faith.
On 23 January 2008 Valentino held his last Haute-Couture show, and retired fully from the world stage. By then I, too, had fully retired from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work and entered a world, a life, as a writer and editor, poet and publisher, journalist and independent scholar. I had been and was a small player in a big pond. Valentino had been, had become, one of the biggest players in a global fashion pond he had helped to create.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 20 August 2010.
married for 45 years, a teacher for 35, a Baha'i for 53 and a writer and editor for 13(in 2012)