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'The Chic' Rides Off: Valentino to Retire After January Couture

Adieu.

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"I think that it will be easier for her to take on Valentino's ready-to-wear than it was to take over from Tom Ford at Gucci," said Branchini. "The challenge at Gucci was to strip away the Tom Ford influence and create a whole new aesthetic for the ready-to-wear. At Valentino, it's a question of gradually updating the image, and not just in two seasons."

Another Milan-based consultant was less bullish about the transition ahead, since the Valentino brand is so intricately linked with the couturier himself, much like Yves Saint Laurent and even Gianfranco Ferré.

"It's not an easy situation," he said. As for Facchinetti, he said she seems like a reliable pick, but it's hard to predict the future. "When John Galliano took over Dior, everyone said he was the wrong choice," he pointed out.

Until now, Permira has been mum on its overall strategy for Valentino Fashion Group, which also owns Hugo Boss AG, citing its ongoing tender offer for outstanding shares in the fashion company. Permira subsidiary Red & Black currently holds just over 60 percent of VFG and has launched an offer for the remainder, with the goal of delisting VFG from the Milan Stock Exchange. The offer wraps up on Friday.

As for his future, Valentino promises it will be full of new commitments and interests, some of which will be linked to fashion. "It is my intention to create and support institutions that promote design and that preserve the art of fashion. I think this would be the best continuation of this wonderful adventure that I had the privilege of living," he said.

Giammetti underlined how the story of work and friendship with Valentino has been lifelong. "I feel honored and endlessly grateful to have worked with one of the greatest couturiers of all time in affirming an international and prestigious brand. And, starting from now, we will share new interests and challenges," said Giammetti.

Giorgio Armani, reacting to the news, said: "Valentino, a man of the utmost finesse and sensitivity, has decided to leave the stage when his star is shining more brightly than ever, as everyone saw at the recent celebration of his 45 years of achievement in Rome, during which he was able to gather around him the most beautiful women, the most distinguished men and the most famous actors. This brings to an end a remarkable era that leaves a lasting imprint.
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