Private goes Public: On the winners of Countdown to Private Competition

by Marcela Ortiz Rubio

The lights of the School of Fashion Auditorium shone bright on stage, and the audience basked as the evening unfolded. Dean Simon Collins, sitting on the platform opposite Giancarlo Giammetti, leaned forward. “What would you like people to know about Valentino that’s never been asked?” This question, written by Susej Cristina Uzcategui, was the winning one for the School of Fashion’s Countdown to Private competition held last week, and to which Valentino shouted from the audience “Be careful!” causing an explosion of laughter from attendees.

Students, faculty and the public were invited this past week to join Dean Simon Collins for a conversation with Giancarlo Giammetti, honorary president of the Valentino Fashion House and trusted partner of designer Valentino Garavani for fifty years. The conversation revolved around the launch of his book, Private, an autobiography that details his childhood in Rome under Nazi occupation and his chance meeting at a café with young rising designer, Valentino. It continues on to detail—in chapters and hundreds of images—his life with the designer.

W MAGAZINE Cocktail Party Hosted by STEFANO TONCHI to Celebrate GIANCARLO GIAMMETTI on the Occasion of his New Book Private: Giancarlo Giammetti

In commemoration of the visit, students had the opportunity to boast their creations in response to a challenge posted in the School of Fashion’s digital magazine, 560. Every student was invited to participate with the following, and the winners were to receive a signed copy of Private:

  1. Be like Andy Warhol or Banksy: Create a portrait of Mr. Giammetti and Valentino and share it with us!
  2. Inspire us! Channel your inner Valentino and drape or draw your vision.
  3. If you could ask one question of Mr. Giammetti, what would it be?

The results were exquisite! While the crowd gathered to watch a screening of the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor and before the talk commenced, Simon, Giancarlo, and Valentino reviewed the submissions before choosing four winners. Who, you may be asking by now, are the lucky and talented pupils who took home a copy of the charming tome?


After Susej’s question was asked, Dean Collins announced the winners for the other two categories: Danielle Perret, David Valencia, Carteris Travanti, and Maria Garcia provided the awe-inspiring designs. Each was met with a big ovation. Mr. Giammetti signed a book for each of the winners. Here are the winning images:


Marcia Garcia


Carteris Travanti 


David Valencia


 Danielle Perret 

The prizewinners then joined Giancarlo, Valentino, and Dean Collins backstage to receive their prizes and mingle with VIP fashion figures in attendance. The signed books were a hit but an overwhelming excitement peeked from behind the eyes of the winners when taking a picture with the two icons of the industry.

It was a great night, but even greater is to see the young talent emerging from Parsons The New School for Design and the acknowledgement of true skill. Congratulations to the winners!