Valentino: Master of Couture, a new exciting exhibition at Somerset House, focuses exclusively on haute couture created by the legendary Italian designer.
A total of 130 handcrafted designs, each more beautiful than the other, are showcased in this fascinating exhibition. Worn by icons such as , Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Gwyneth Paltrow, the dresses are timeless masterpieces.
Encompassing couture catwalk, red carpet and privately commissioned pieces, the show gives the viewer a true sense of the talent and expertise required to design such stunning works. Many of the designs have never been seen outside of Valentino’s atelier, but the viewer might recognise some very well known ones, such as the vintage dress worn by Julia Roberts when she won an Academy award in 2001 and Jackie Onassis’ wedding dress from Valentino’s 1968 White Collection.
Valentino’s long-standing relationships with the world’s most glamorous women transpire in this exhibition, with dresses designed for princesses, first ladies and Hollywood icons.
The first room invites the viewer in Valentino’s unique world, with personal photographs, couture invitations and letters addressed to him, catalogue covers and sketches.
When going upstairs the viewer walks down a catwalk-like corridor, admiring the outfits that adorn the mannequins on both sides of the runway, while noticing the array of famous fashion icons’ names displayed on the seats, from to Sarah Jessica Parker. The evening gowns, dresses, trouser suits, minis, capes and kaftans are thematically grouped and take the viewer on a dazzling journey through fashion from 1950s to today.
The next room features an astonishing pearl-encrusted ivory silk wedding gown, which New-York socialite of Greece wore to marry Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece in 1995.
Finally, the last room gives the viewer a glimpse into the Valentino atelier, with a table showcasing samples of techniques fashioned by “le raggazze” (the girls) hands, some of them unique to the atelier, accompanied by a film of how they are made. The couture techniques unveiled here allow the viewer to truly appreciate the detailed work and artistry put into each Valentino design.
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