Valentino has been honoured in France for his services to the fashion industry.

The Italian designer was awarded the prestigious Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal during a lavish ceremony in Paris on Wednesday evening (10.10.12) to celebrate his achievements since founding his eponymous fashion house in 1959 until his retirement in 2008.

Aurelie Filippetti, France's minister of culture and communications, presented him with the award and announced: ''Uncontested ambassador of Italian elegance, prodigy of fit and dedicated colour-master, you have managed to blend modernity, classicism and romanticism like few before, creating that inimitable bright red colour, that 'Valentino red', bright, ardent and flamboyant, which matches your dexterity.

''You have never left centre stage, as you were recently honored by the New York City Ballet for the costumes you created.''

This is the third occasion the 80-year-old designer has been honoured in the French capital.

Valentino Garavani - who was proudly showing off his brand new medal - told WWD: ''The ceremony was in the same reception room [overlooking the Palais-Royal]'' as when he was presented with the Legion d'Honneur in 2006.

In 2008, Valentino became an honorary French citizen when the mayor of Paris awarded him with the Grand Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris.