Sunday, 24 February 2013
Valentino: Master of Couture
So we all know this exhibition has been around for a couple of months now, gracing Somerset House with it's high fashion, but I only got the chance to visit it last week.
Accompanied by my mum, I booked tickets to the Valentino exhibition.
I won't lie, I wasn't too bothered about going. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with fashion, especially with designer and high end couture, but Valentino has never been a favourite designer of mine so I wasn't too fussed.
Anyway, after a lovely lunch at Strada next to Covent Garden, my mum and I wandered down to Somerset House. After winding our way through the LFW crowds, we found our way to the exhibition entrance.
I picked up a little guide, which was classically set out, and we went in. The first bit is of the correspondence between Valentino and various other fashion big names and members of celebrity society, including royalty. I particularly loved the Christmas card from Prince Charles, with a very over-posed photograph of him with Wills and Harry.
Reading the map of Valentino's life showed his dedication to fashion. I had no idea of the places he had worked and designed for.
One of the highlights of this exhibition for me was the various fashion illustrations that were on display- I found this particularly thrilling as I am currently teaching myself fashion illustration. The drawings from the late 60s and early 70s were my favourites.
The next part of the exhibition was the cleverly designed catwalk of which viewers walked down to see some of the iconic dresses and outfits of Valentino's designs throughout the years.
They were all insane- in every sense of the word! Some were insanely amazing and truly beautiful, whilst a small handful were insanely scary- really not to my taste!
A particular envy arose in me whilst looking at Jackie O's wedding dress.
Another interesting aspect was the display of some pieces that had been designed in the 50s and 60s, but not actually materialised until the 90s and 2000s. This made me question- how many more unknown fabulous designs are hidden away, maybe never to be seen? Of course not every idea and ensemble is a good one, but there will always be some amazing ideas which the world will never see.
Going back to wedding dresses, there was the display of the dress of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. What a stunning piece. Pearl and ivory lace, with the work of 25 hand seamstresses over 4 months. A truly exquisite dress that is well worth viewing.
The final part of the exhibition was a small display of some of the infamous Valentino detailing to garments- the tulle rose for example. Each item had it's own video of someone making it- My mum liked this part in particular, as she is a keen sewer and knitter, although I think this level of expertise was a bit beyond her.
Of course, upon exit we had to go through the gift shop. I was very excited to see the tote bags on sale with some lovely prints- the big cat one being my favourite, but alas, I could not purchase said tote with the £350 price tag.
Overall, I was very impressed with the exhibition. It really opened my eyes to Valentino, and I appreciate him and his designs so much more now. My mum also thoroughly enjoyed it, and she is someone who isn't bothered about designers.
I would certainly visit it again before it goes, and if you are thinking of going, I would recommend you get to it!