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Thursday 24 January 2013

The Emperor's Old Clothes - Celebrating 50 Years of Valentino

From Audrey Hepburn to Julia Roberts and Jackie Onassis to Anne Hathaway, Valentino has been dressing the world's most beautiful women for half a Century.

In celebration of fifty years of high fashion, Somerset House is currently staging a major Valentino retrospective showcasing over 130 Valentino Couture gowns. 

We've been thoroughly overexcited about the exhibition for months (we first posted about it back in October), but it wasn't until I was back in London for Christmas that I finally got the chance to spend the day in Valentino Red Couture heaven...

With its towering tree and outdoor ice-rink, Somerset House is the picture perfect Winter Wonderland at Christmas, but this year I skipped the skating and made a beeline for the Exhibition entrance where a curtain of red chiffon hinted at the fashion amazingness waiting just inside.

The Exhibition is divided into three sections. You start with a collection of photographs, letters, press cuttings and sketches giving a peep into the life of one of fashion's most feted couturiers. Then you wind up a staircase to the next section, a reverse catwalk, where the visitor walks down the runway and either side the audience sits, a cast of mannequins dressed in Valentino Couture.

This section of the exhibition was the absolute highlight for me, the intricate detail and beautiful workmanship of each piece is breathtaking; I could have spent hours looking at every dress.

In amongst the gowns are a few celebrities including the Julia Roberts Oscars dress, a couple of Audrey Hepburn dresses and Jackie Kennedy Onassis' wedding dress...

The third and final part of the exhibition takes you behind the scenes of the Valentino atelier through a series of videos showing the team of les petites mains who sew each stitch of each gown by hand. 

I absolutely adored the exhibition and urge anyone who loves fashion and beautiful dresses to put aside an afternoon to spend a few very happy hours in Valentino world. The exhibition runs until 3 March so there's still plenty of time to make sure that you catch it. 

And even if you can't make the exhibition, if you haven't seen the 2008 Valentino documentary, Valentino: The Last Emperor, download it immediately - 96 minutes of pugs, diva strops and snide digs about being too tanned...Pure fashion bliss!

1 comment

  1. These are nice gowns, no wonder Valentino is among the star's favorite. My sister's husband once gave her a Valentino for a ball they have attended and it was absolutely gorgeous!