Fashion: Valentino: Master of Couture

4 January 2013

Valentino: Master of Couture

29 November 2012 – 3 March 2013
Daily 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.15), until 21.00 Thursdays (Last admission 20.15)  
31 Dec 10.00-16.00 (Last admission 15.15), 1 Jan: 12.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.15)
Embankment Galleries, South Wing
£12.50/£9 concessions

Whilst visiting Somerset House in London, my friend and I decided to pay the small price to enter into the world of Valentino couture. The italian fashion designer first became interested in this face-paced world whilst attending primary school in Northern Italy, he apprenticed under his aunt Rosa and eventually moved to Paris to pursue his interest under the help and guidance of his parents. He has triumphed in everything he set out to do and has dressed some of the most famous women in the World including Jackie Kennedy through her year of grief for husband, John F Kennedy.

 We paid and went through the crisp white doors finding ourselves submerged into a sea of letters and photographs from celebrities and friends such as Meryl Streep (Valentino played a cameo role in the film The Devil wears Prada) and Prince Charles after he dressed and had a personal bond with Diana, Princess of Wales. 

We found letters of acceptance and congratulations as admirers penned their thoughts and emotions to paper, they all just wanted to praise Valentino on his many achievements. After spending time staring through the glass cases and reading the intimate writings we ventured up the steel, spiral staircase and walked onto a catwalk filled to the brim of Valentino Couture.

(From left to right Dress 62: S/S 1959. Red tulle evening dress with corsage detailing in the skirt using rose couture technique. Dress 29: designed in 1955, realised in 1990. White rebrode lace evening gown with pink degrade chiffon drape detailing. A tribute to Mexican actress Maria Felix. Dress 101: S/S 1998. White taffeta hand-painted evening gown)

We had been given a small programme at the start of the exhibition and now was the time to use it, walking through the exquisite runway we were able to define every single item of clothing and the year it was made. It also displayed chairs in between the mannequins labelled with women such as Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker and Elle MacPherson, amongst others. With over 130 dresses/ outfits to admire, we could have been spent hours in there but we headed down another staircase thinking we were at the end.

We were wrong. 

In another vast room there was a a large white boxed table, within this there were pieces of hand stitched fabric straight from the Valentino fashion house and videos showing just how they were made. This emphasised the intricate detailing Valentino's seamstresses used and the skills they must have to create such gorgeous garments. I left the exhibition completely overwhelmed with what I had witnessed, such high fashion and an impossible amount of love for Valentino, truly the Master of Couture.

Click here for more information on this wonderful exhibition.

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