Valentino Garavani, the retired but not retiring designer, celebrated the unveiling of his archives in suitably grand style last night at his château, Wideville, outside Paris. "I remember every detail, every dress," said the designer (who, for the record, created 12,000 of them). "Every drawing reminds me of a period, of a moment. It fills me with joy."
He wasn't alone. After checking out the split-level museum—which houses an impressive compilation of 10,000 sketches on the walls and on a lineup of iPads, along with a couple thousand letters, hundreds of pictures, awards, and the odd dress or two culled from the Rome archives—guests moved to a tented space in the garden for dinner and dancing (Madonna's on-again, off-again beau, Jesus Luz, was at the turntables). Milling among the crowd were Gwyneth Paltrow with Apple and Moses in tow, Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, Elizabeth Hurley, Giambattista Valli, Lee Radziwill, Blake Lively, Jon Kortajarena, Jessica Alba, and Yasmin and Simon LeBon.
"I have two Valentinos that I bought in Rome," reminisced Jane Fonda. "One I wore when I accepted the Oscar for my father for On Golden Pond. Great dress. But after that I started lifting weights, so I can't close it anymore! I can't wait to get a new one—I'm going to New York to do that soon. But I can still wear my black velvet one; it's my favorite. I've worn it to the White House three times."
Asked if he could see himself opening a similar archive, Marc Jacobs demurred. "I'm from a different generation. We paid the models in clothes, for one thing, so we didn't hold on to anything. But that's cool. I like knowing that the clothes are all living out there in the world somewhere."