Monday, 10 December 2012

Fashion Sunday - Part 2 - Valentino: Master of Couture

Apologies for the delay in posting the second half of my Fashion Sunday update. It has been rather an eventful (but very exciting!) week, which has meant that my blog has had to take a back seat. But back to the fashion loveliness!

The second exhibition that myself and Penny saw at Somerset House, was the much-anticipated 'Valentino: Master of Couture'. As soon as this was announced I knew that we just had to see it. The exhibition features 130 of Valentino's haute couture dresses, spanning the 50 years of his career, including many iconic dresses such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis' wedding dress and the black and white gown that Julia Roberts wore to accept her Oscar.

Photo: PA Photos

The design of the exhibition turned the tables on the standard catwalk setup, with the viewer walking the catwalk to view the designs being worn by the mannequins sat on the white Louis XV chairs. The white backdrop and chairs allowed you to really focus on Valentino's exquisite creations in all their glory. I loved how the dresses are clustered in themes, e.g. 'animal print'; 'lace', which allows you to see some of the themes running through Valentino's work, as opposed to focusing on which dress came first. If you were in any doubt of Valentino's dedicated celebrity following, then the name tags on the chairs would remind you that his clientele list reads like a 'Who's Who' of Hollywood, past and present - Audrey Hepburn; Julia Roberts, and many more.

Photo: Peter MacDiarmid

I loved the combination of the hand-painted coral design on this dress from 1969, together with the simple shape and structure,

One of (if not the) highlights of the exhibition is the wedding dress of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. The dress, created in 1995, took 25 seamstresses four months to make, and reportedly cost £225,000. The simple presentation of the dress allows you to really focus on the design and detail of the dress, which includes a 4.5m train and uses 12 different types of lace.

Photo: Peter MacDiarmid

One of the unexpected delights of the exhibition was the section showing videos of the seamstresses (or the "ragazze") at work. As someone who struggles with sewing a hem, I was in awe at the skill of these women. It was great to see the films alongside the pieces being created.

I absolutely loved this exhibition and am very tempted to pay another visit before it closes in March 2013. Have you been or are you planning on going? I would love to know your thoughts.



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