A bona fide fashion legend, Keni Valenti has enjoyed a decades-long career as a designer, stylist, collector, and historian. In the 1990’s,the style maven turned his attention to vintage couture, gradually amassing a collection of 20,000 extraordinary pieces from designers as varied as Chanel, Halston, and Alaia alongside culturally relevant pieces, such as Madonna's Gaultier "cone bra" and one of Jackie O's engagement suits.
Born in Queens, NY, Keni's career in fashion began after meeting Betsey Johnson at New York's famed Mudd Club. Their encounter played a pivotal role in Keni assisting on her very first fashion show and led to establishing Valenti as a sought-after department store stylist and fashion presence.
A prominent fixture at Studio 54, Valenti was also part of the legendary team of personalities and stylists at Fiorucci, where he served as an accessories designer. The next natural evolution presented itself when, in 1983, he opened up his first store in the East Village and focused on American designs primarily using denim, plaid, and chambray. After acquiring status as rarefied to his notable clients and being called, “The Next Halston” by Time Magazine, Valenti fielded many offers to buy his store and eventually sold to a Japanese investor who worked with him to cultivate his lifestyle brand. Keni lived in Japan and Paris while he was under contract but ultimately decided that wasn’t a good fit.
He returned to New York and again found himself in the center of New York's cultural zeitgeist, Valenti made clothes for the Club Kids who made haunts like the Tunnel, Limelight, and Palladium famous. He then decided to open up a salon on West 30th where Keni was on speed dial of very major fashion editor, stylist and designer. From Michael KORS, Tom Ford and Prada, Keni was the go to for all vintage couture
Keni went to Miami and again being the pioneer he is, set up the Museum of Fashion in Wynwood which was not at the time the arts destination it is today, there he produced 28 curated shows highlighting YSL and Lily Pulitzer among many others,. Again, looking for a change, Keni decamped to Joshua Tree in 2014 taking his vast collection with him. There he continues his client work while on the hunt for the best and rarest in fashion. As Keni says, he is the ultimate "beauty keeper."
Valenti looks past the retinal importance of the label and into the piece's place in defining the designer. This is of paramount importance to his stellar client base, including everyone from Kate Moss to Naomi Campbell and stylists like Arianne Phillips, who are all aware of his unfaltering eye.
Valenti's exhibition at Phillips Auction was a New York homecoming for Keni and the partnership with Bluefly thrusts him back into the spotlight and promises to be the ultimate event in the world of vintage couture.
His unrivaled collection speaks volumes not only about his taste and fashion acumen but represents a veritable living history of the finest in couture.