Neopolitan born Mario Valentino began his career designing specialty shoes. By the 1950's he had become well known. By 1956 he had established a shoe manufacturing company in Naples and opened a number of shops around the world. Patrons included the likes of Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
One-time Valentino employees included Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace, whom he encouraged.
In 1990, the year before his death, Valentino launched a men's fragrance, Ocean Rain, created by legendary perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. It proved to be the last of Roudnitska's creations to be released in his lifetime as he himself passed away in 1996.
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