The fashion designer Valentino Garavani was named for the 1920s Hollywood heartthrob Rudolph Valentino, who died in 1926, six years before Garavani was born in Italy. He started drawing as a child and wanted only to create dresses. (“I am a disaster in everything else,” he has said.) After study in Paris, Garavani joined the house of Jean Dessès, known for exquisitely ruched silk gowns, then moved on to Guy Laroche. In 1960, having returned to Rome, he opened his own couture house—Valentino—and the rest is history. Up in the pantheon with Saint Laurent, Givenchy, and Lagerfeld, Garavani has never strayed from his ideal of beauty—classically inflected opulence, passionate yet disciplined. He retired in 2007, but continues to design costumes for opera, theater, and ballet. Valentino couture has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, but this one at Qatar Museums’ M7 is the largest to date and the first in the Middle East. —L.J.