Sunday, 13 January 2013

Valentino: Master of Couture

The Valentino exhibition at Somerset House, London shows Couture design at it's best: attention to detail, high quality materials and strong vision. Entry to the Exhibition in the lower galleries is down a dramatic stairwell, 'dressed' with this beautiful drape of red fabric.

Beautifully draped fabric in Somerset House stairwell.
Photo by Emma Vining
The exhibition begins with a vibrant table top projection, followed by a selection of design sketches and show invitations cards displayed in cases below wall projected images in the shape of a huge flower. Stairs lead you up to 'The Catwalk', where mannequins model the couture garments on both sides of the gallery.

The Catwalk
Image from Somerset House Website
Each garment is identified by a number, with detail in the accompanying guidebook. Highlights for me included the origami technique in garment No 12, S/S 2008, a pale pink taffeta ensemble with detailed folding; the overlaid sequin swirls on the sleeves and jacket on garment No 19, S/S 2005, a black shantung silk suit; huge circular crochet-like embellishments on garment No 20, a black and white tweed ensemble. Throughout the catwalk, the garments showed off the expert use of lace, pearls, crystal, sequins, pleating, folding and fabric manipulations.

Following the catwalk is a top down view of Princess Marie Chantal of Greece's wedding dress with the huge train spread out. This dress illustrates the level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into every creation as it took 16 people 6 weeks just to create the lace veil. Further insights are revealed in the next room where some of the techniques used are demonstrated on screens embedded in a huge table accompanied by actual samples.

Image from Somerset House Website
This inspiring showcase of 50 years of Valentino through over 130 dresses and insights into haute couture techniques runs until 3rd March 2013 at Somerset House, London.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a Valentino exhibition in Paris a few years ago - it was stunning! Outfits were grouped by colour. He must have used the same red crepe every year.