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Valentino Garavani doesn’t shy away from standing next to women that tower over him. He can’t – he’s a designer, and the women are [super]models, celebrities, and actresses. At 5’9”, he’s at the low end of average height for men in the developed world. Nevertheless, he doesn’t seem to wear elevator shoes when making Red Carpet appearances. Anne Hathaway, who’s 5’8”, can (and does) tower over the man, when she’s wearing high heels. In fact, in one relatively recent photo, she seemed to be more than a head taller than the Italian designer, and he didn’t seem the least nonplussed.
It’s all a question of context. Even very tall men can be dwarfed by extremely tall women. Also, in the context of haute couture, Tall Is the New Black, and has been for ages. The man’s vision, style, and force of personality are his dominant traits, not his height. Even more importantly, for the fashion world, his focus is on women’s fashion primarily, with a nod to men’s fashion. Some of the men’s shoes in his collection have a bit of lift to them, but many do not.
Valentino officially retired in January, 2008, but still does the occasional one-off design, like Anne Hathaway’s wedding dress in 2012. While his brand continues full force, he can now dedicated his life to living life, and living it large, as he has done for decades. Back in the day, the Red Brigade in Italy was kidnapping and bombing the rich. Valentino’s response? Drive around in a bulletproof Mercedes limousine – a red, red limousine. It’s as if he didn’t want to be caught dead in the wrong color car, and Valentino Red is now a byword of his look and dress designs. Fortunately, he was never kidnapped, nor bombed, in or out of his limo.