Valentino Garavani was born in Italy in 1932. He grew up wanting to study art and design, and moved to Paris at age 17, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the school of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. He then apprenticed at Jean Desses and Guy Laroche. With a solid background in French couture, he returned to Rome in 1959 and opened his own atelier.
Rome in the early 60's was a playground for the jet-set. Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Gina Lollobridgida were all there working on films. Elizabeth Taylor visited Valentino's atelier in 1960 while filming Spartacus, and began a friendship and fashion collaboration that has spanned the decades.
In addition to Hollywood actresses, Valentino's first fashion shows were also attended by Parisian society women whom Valentino had met during his years there. His designs were met with favorable fashion press, and a couture dynasty began.
The beaded suit shown above was featured in the October 1964 issue of Vogue magazine. "Valentino's night ideas - dazzling, provocative, with some of the impish dash of his day clothes. Valentino's spectacular black suit, covered entirely in beads. All around the jacket, including cuffs - loopy bead fringe. The blouse, sleeveless black velvet."
Gorgeous, isn't it?