Oprah and Valentino

The day before the big show, I was at the atelier with Valentino going over dresses. His staff set up a mock runway and allowed our crew to photograph him while he worked. The show was less than 24 hours away, and Valentino was still making changes…
Supermodel Karolina Kurkova


A dress that seemed like perfection on supermodel Karolina Kurkova was not fitting right in Valentino's eyes. His seamstresses, wearing little white coats like doctors, ripped and cut and stripped while the gown was still on model Karolina's body!
Oprah on the catwalk.

I've always wondered why models look like they're mad at somebody when they're strutting down the runway. They always seem to have such attitude. After talking to Karolina, I understand. She says that walking down the runway with a smiley face would detract from the clothes. And now that I've tried that pony walk myself, I think she's right. It's hard to walk like a stallion and smile at the same time.
Valentino's red dress

Valentino always does one red dress per show—his signature piece.
Oprah and her friend Marlene Veloz, July 2004

It's show time! I don't know anyone who can afford to wear haute couture every day. The prices are staggering, the same as with any other fine art; it would be like having a Picasso or Monet in every room. But just knowing these beautiful garments exist raises the bar and makes me want to wear anything well.
Model Alek Wek

Model Alek Wek struck a pose before hitting the runway. Valentino's workmanship and artistry remind me of the finest paintings. The fabrics, textures, embroidery and beading are weepingly beautiful—like art for the body. It's impossible to wear these clothes and not feel transformed. So inspiring!
Oprah in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris

My best friend Gayle King took this picture of me in front of the Eiffel Tower (wearing Valentino, of course!). I went home and cleaned out my closet, determined to wear only what I love and what makes me feel wonderful, even if it's a pair of sweats. Valentino says your clothes should make you feel alive. They have to live with you and move with you. That's the key to elegance: not just wearing beautiful things but making what you're wearing come alive.