Valentino takes parting shot at 'ruined' industry

  • @peterpopham

Italy's living legend of fashion, Valentino Garavani, finally sets sail for the old folks' home this week, and the 77-year-old sprayed peers and colleagues with vitriol as he went.

"This environment is no longer stimulating," he sniffed to journalists after the launch of his final haute couture show in Paris. "I certainly won't miss the fashion world. It's ruined! Everybody's doing the same things. What's missing is challenge, creativity, cheerfulness. These days it's all about numbers! To continue working in an environment which says nothing in particular to me would be a bore."

He dropped the merest hint of regret at finally putting down his sketch book. "I couldn't keep at it for another 20 years, I'm not a lad any more – even though I have enough ideas to fill many more collections."

What will he do next? "I'm off to have some fun at the carnival in Rio, then to Moscow for a charity called Lonely Hearts, then skiing in Gstaad."

The Italian journalists asked if he had any hobbies. "Certainly I have! I plan to dedicate myself to gardening."

Of Alessandra Fachinetti, the designer appointed (without his say-so) to take over the company's women's wear, he remarked, "I've met her, she's pretty, I gave her some tips. My great regret is that I didn't raise a successor."

He then scattered faint praise and loud raspberries at those whom the ignorant multitude might absurdly consider his equals. Armani: "In the course of 40 years he has created a great style – but vulgar." Prada: "knows what she wants... even if we don't share ideas about clothes." Dolce and Gabbana: "Shy at the beginning – now arrogant." Donatella Versace: "[Her brother] Gianni's talent was unique – but what grit she has!"