Valentino is an Italian apparel company founded by Valentino Garavani in 1960 and part of the Valentino Fashion Group, which in turn belongs to the State of Qatar through Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C. Since October 2008, the creative director has been Pier Paolo Piccioli. Alessandra Facchinetti was the Valentino design designer from 2007 until 2008. Valentino is based in Milan while Rome is the artistic direction. Valentino was created in 1960, when Garavani opened a fashion house on Via Condotti in Rome, Italy with the help of his father's associate Giancarlo Giammetti. In 1962 Valentino's international debut was in Florence, then the capital of Italian fashion. Wedding dresses have been specially designed by Valentino for Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Cox, Sophie Hunter and Princess Madeleine of Sweden too. In 1998, Garavani and Giammetti sold the company for around $300 million to HdP, an Italian conglomerate that was partially owned by late Fiat president Gianni Agnelli. In 2002 Valentino S.p. A. sold by HdP. For $210 million to Marzotto Apparel, a Milan based fashion company with revenue of over $180 million. It was speculated that HDP was displeased with Garavani and Giammetti's personal spending, a comment Giammetti had bristled at. In 2012, Qatar bought Valentino for 700 million euros through an investment fund called Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C. Born in Voghera, Pavia, Lombardy, Italy, Valentino was born. His mum called him after the screen hero Rudolph Valentino. He became involved in fashion when he was apprenticed at primary school in his native Voghera, Lombardy, northern Italy, under his aunt Rosa and local designer Ernestina Salvadeo, an aunt of renowned artist Aldo Giorgini. Valentino then travelled to Paris to pursue the passion with the aid of his mother Teresa de Biaggi and his father Mauro Garavani. There, he taught at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne Chambre. Jacques Fath, in Paris, and then Balenciaga, was his first choice for an apprenticeship. He pursued an apprenticeship with Jean Dessès, allowing Countess Jacqueline de Ribes to formulate her clothing ideas. He then joined in with Guy Laroche for two years. At Jean Dessès, Valentino sketched enthusiastically, assisting window dressing and inviting clients for private shows everyday at 2:30 pm. Many early sketches have gone missing. Nevertheless, a smattering of them emerged at a Rome show in 1991, where then-current clients like Marie-Hélène de Rothschild where Elizabeth Taylor marvelled that Valentino's brand Heritage was still evident in the white plates and textures of animal prints. After five years over an incident involving prolonging a holiday in Saint-Tropez, Valentino left Jean Dessès, which still makes him sad today. His friend Guy Laroche rescued him, and he entered his "small, tiny" fashion room. Upon agreeing with his parents he decided to travel to Italy and start up as Emilio Schuberth's pupil in Rome in 1959, and later collaborated with Vincenzo Ferdinandi's workshop before starting up his own fashion shop. Valentino left Paris in 1960 and with the help of his father and his wife opened a fashion house in Rome along the posh Via Condotti. The premises resembled a real "maison de haute couture" rather than an atelier, being very much in line with what Valentino had seen in Paris. It was all very grand and models flew in from Paris for his first show. Valentino became renowned in the fashion industry for his red skirts, in the bright shade that was renowned as "Valentino gold." In September 2007 Valentino agreed to give up the Creative Way of his brand. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were first appointed Creative Directors of all accessories lines from Prêt-à-Porter to Haute Couture, and the next year they were appointed Valentino's Creative Directors, heading all the collections. In June 2015, the prestigious CFDA International Award was presented to the creative directors, a recognition that paid homage to the professional journey and success of the Maison. Maison Valentino appointed Pierpaolo Piccioli as the new Artistic Director of the House on 7 July 2016.