Now that Valentino has retired from the fashion house he founded, he's spending more and more time in New York. The city that never sleeps seems to be agreeing with the legendary designer, who is exhibiting a stamina that much younger party boys would envy. In the past ten days we're seen him at the New York City Ballet gala; at designer Adam Lippes' apartment for writer Bob Colacello's 61st birthday party; and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Insitute gala with Claudia Schiffer on his arm. Tonight, socialite-turned-actress Alison Sarofim will host a fete celebrating Valentino's 76th birthday party at her West Village townhouse.
Aside from the social scene, it may be the designer's new Jacques Grange-designed apartment that has made the Big Apple so alluring to Val. Unlike his more over-the-top residences in Capri, Rome, Gstaad and London (not to mention his Louis XIII-era chateau outside Paris) his Manhattan apartment is much more understated, according to Grange. "He wanted it to be more modern and light. He wanted a change," Grange told me recently. One
impetus for the shift is Valentino's extensive collection of contemporary and modern art, for which he wanted a more neutral background.
Above left: Valentino and Claudia Schiffer at the Met gala. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/ Getty Images. Above right: Jennifer Garner and Valentino. Photo: Peter Kramer/ Getty Images.