Born Jean Dimitre Verginie, (b. August 6, 1904 in Alexandria, Egypt - d. August 2, 1970 in Athens, Greece), was a world leading fashion designer in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His designs reflected the influences of his travels, specializing in creating draped evening gowns in chiffon and mousseline, based on early Greek and Egyptian robes.
Born in Alexandria, to Greek parents , he originally set out to study law but in 1925 he abandoned his legal studies and began working for Maison Jane, a Parisian couture house where in 1937, he opened his own couture salon. After World War II, he traveled extensively throughout the world. His work was influenced by his travels, creating draped evening gowns in chiffon, embroidered dresses, sheath dresses with tight jackets and flowing skirts. His fashion was very popular with European royalty and movie stars. Among his clientele were the royal family ladies of Greece, the Duchess of Windsor and society hostess Elsa Maxwell. Valentino worked with Desses for several years in the 1950's and gained much hands-on experience.
In 1963, at age 60, because of poor health, he retired to Greece, where he ran a small boutique which he had opened eight years earlier. He passed away in 1970. In the 1990s his fashion designs saw a revival with the interest of vintage dresses. Naomi Campbell wore a vintage boned bodice and ruched silk Desses gown in May of 1999 at a Christies party.
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