Jan 21, 2008
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Italian designer Valentino reveals regrets in retirement interview

Jan 21, 2008

ROME, Jan 21, 2008 (AFP) - The Italian fashion designer Valentino confided Monday January 21th his biggest regret was not grooming a successor to take over his couture empire, as he prepared to mount his final catwalk show in Paris this week.

Italian designer Valentino acknowledges the public at the end of his Autumn/Winter 2007/2008 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris, in February 2007 - Photo : Francois Guillot/AFP

The 75-year-old high-fashion guru retires after 45 years in the business with a swansong show on Wednesday at the Rodin Museum.

"My biggest regret? Not having the time, or perhaps the desire, to shape a young person ready to inherit my place. And if I didn't do that, it's because I'm too focussed -- the idea of passing on the baton never really appealed to me," he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"What I'll miss will no longer being able to draw, but certainly not the world of fashion. That world is spoilt. Everyone does the same things. It lacks defiance, creativity and gaiety. At the moment, it's all about the bottom line," he told La Stampa, in another interview to mark his departure from the fashion scene.

Valentino let slip that he would like to design costumes for the opera in his retirement -- along with tending to his rose garden, skiing in Switzerland and increasing his current posse of pet dogs (he already has five.)

Whilst top models Eva Herzigova, Claudia Schiffer and Karen Mulder will be at his final show at the Rodin Museum, there is one figure closely associated with Valentino who will be notable by her absence -- Carla Bruni.

"I wanted to have her, but she is very busy at the moment. She is a magnificent specimen of womanhood, a woman fitting for the Elysee, she has all the qualities of a First Lady," Valentino told La Stampa.

The couturier revealed that the Louvre Museum was preparing a massive retrospective show of his works for mid-2008, and that a film biography, entitled "Valentino -- The Last Emperor", will premiere at the Cannes film festival in May.

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