The stunning Valentino Couture exhibition at Somerset House was in its final week, so very busy (as you can see from the queues outside). Photographs were prohibited, so I am unable to illustrate this post with images of gorgeous gowns, but there are plenty of related resources available on the Internet.
ShopCurious was given a guided tour of the exhibition by curator, Alistair O’Neill. The show was dedicated purely to couture, and every one of the 138 gowns on display was made by hand. As well as being a celebration of Valentino Garavani’s 50 year career in fashion, the exhibition was also a tribute to the girls - le regazze - working in his atelier.
In addition to a catwalk of spectacular creations, with fantasy seating ‘placements,’ there was a section dedicated to the technical skills of the atelier. This included a pagine cape, made using a technique exclusive to Valentino, whereby silk pages, each taking a seamstress half an hour to make, are sewn together to create a fabric.
Every outfit in the show tells a tale. The bridal gown of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece was six months in the making, using 12 varieties of lace. A specially designed motif on the veil casts the shadow of butterflies, thought to represent the soul in Greek mythology.
If you missed the exhibition, or are curious to discover more about the skilled work of a master couturier, a visit to the Valentino Garavani virtual museum is a must.