Valentino: Master of Couture Exhibition, 29 November 2012 – 3 March 2013
This major new exhibition opening at Somerset House in London celebrating the life and work of Valentino will showcase over 130 exquisite haute couture designs worn by icons such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Gwyneth Paltrowin an exciting specially created installation.
Divided into three sections; visitors will start with a private view of Valentino’s world through photographs from his personal archive, offering an intimate portrait of the life of the master. The exhibition then unfolds into a couture fashion show where roles are reversed with visitors walking the catwalk to view a staggering one hundred and thirty Valentino haute couture designs.
The final section will unpick the painstaking processes of crafting couture exemplified by the stunning wedding dress of Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, demonstrating the beauty of the work of les petit mains who sew each stitch by hand. In addition a specially commissioned group of films will allow behind-the scenes access to the Valentino atelier, where the craft of couture is demonstrated in a series of fascinating samples. Finally, discover more about the man, the icon, by exploring the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum.
There will be a series of talks, screenings and events to accompany the exhibition.
The concealed craft and construction of garments, the layers of delicate flower embroideries at once hidden and revealed, the respect for and the revelation of the female body see the exquisite skills of the couture atelier at its peak. A new form of construction through decoration is explored in the intricate, delicate cutwork to be found throughout the collection. This gives the clothing a contemporary third dimension through embroidery and an architectural quality. Yet all appears light and effortless despite the collection being one of the most labour intensive yet produced.
The setting for the show is again a reimagining of the intimacy of the female arena of the salon. Evoking French Mid-Century interior architecture, with a blend of white angular Modernism and biomorphism echoing the female form, the interior resonates with the clothes themselves. All is sculpted by human hand. “The interior is a radical, female gesture,” explains Raf Simons. “And I wanted the women who wear these clothes to feel that too. That they can be worn with a powerful attitude, without any of the extraneous elements like a ‘couture pose’; that they can be worn by just being themselves.”
Katie Holmes looked every inch the fairytale princess when she wed Tom Cruise at the Odescalchi Castle in Italy in a couture Armani gown. Her off-the-shoulder ivory silk gown was embellished with Valenciennes lace and Swarovski crystals and her veil was made from crinoline and tulle. The beautiful creation took the Italian designer more than 350 hours to make.
“Katie wanted a simple, elegant dress,” said Armani. “I wanted to make it modern but at the same time complement the sweetness and energy she conveys.”
Anne Hathaway looked beautiful as she took to the beach in Big Sur in a haute couture Valentino dress. The gown was made from ivory silk with point d’espirit tulle and the train was embroidered with satin flowers. For a finishing touch, the bottom of the dress was hand painted with a soft pink hue.
“I begged Valentino during the first fitting to make the train detachable,” said Anne. “He looked at me and said ‘But it is a dress, not a costume.’ The memory of creating it with him is something that I will treasure forever. He somehow read my mind and designed the dress that I’d always wanted.”
Ziad Nakad haute couture 2013
Valentino Haute Couture
Stephane Rolland – Haute Couture Spring 2013