Fashion: Not exactly fly-fishing...

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The Independent Online

For some men, retirement means joining a golf club or acquiring a garden shed to fill the old diary. Valentino Garavani, however, has barely had time to draw breath since he quit his post at the helm of the eponymous label, let alone develop a passion for fly-fishing.

Just five months after his valedictory couture show, the diminutive 75-year-old is back with a retrospective of his work at Paris's Musée des Arts Décoratifs, bringing together 225 of his creations spanning five decades, mostly chosen from his couture collections and many in his fetish-shade of poppy-red.

Despite the inclusion of one or two pieces worn by celebrities such as Julia Roberts, the exhibition's curator Pamela Golbin says she tried to avoid too many celebrity connections to focus on the beauty of the designs.

It's a nice approach, if a little at odds with the starry lifestyle of the man himself. (At one point hardly an issue of Hello! seemed to pass without a spread featuring the mahogany-skinned maestro lounging on his yacht with A-list friends from Gwyneth Paltrow to Heidi Klum.)

But Valentino is going to have to learn to relinquish a little of the limelight, if the debut couture show by his replacement Alessandra Facchinetti earlier this month is anything to go by: while many bemoaned Valentino's resignation as another nail in the coffin of couture, Facchinetti's sleek offerings suggest he will be able to retire to his yacht knowing his legacy is in safe hands.

The exhibition runs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris until 21 September (