This winter, London has become host to one of the greatest collections of Valentino Couture, in a celebration of the designer’s life and work. The show, which is hosted by Somerset House has been open since the 29 November 2012 and will continue until the 3rd of March 2013. The exhibit is a glamorous showcase of some of Valentino’s most memorable looks and avant-garde designs that span the length of his career, ranging from the 1950’s to present day. The collection of red carpet and catwalk looks is paired with a collection of Valentino’s unseen photographs of himself at work and play with some of the most notable figures of the past half-century. It also includes handwritten notes from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among invitations to his Couture shows. The exhibit ends with a highlight – an up close look at the wedding gown of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece followed by a glimpse inside the ateliers of a couturier. A number of videos highlight the skill and technique that is required by the ladies who create the complex looks seen in Valentino’s designs.
The main portion of the exhibit however is the runway, which showcases the looks of Valentino. Designed as though you are walking down a catwalk, the collection shows off over 100 unique looks. The dresses are breath taking with some highlights including the dress worn by Julia Roberts when she one the Best Actress Oscar in 2001, and a black dinner jacket worn by Audrey Hepburn. This section of the exhibit however, is rather confusing. Going during peak times the exhibit can become overcrowded. The numbering of the outfits seems slightly out of beat with the description guide that you are given with your ticket – several times we were left flicking through the guide for the right description – and the natural flow of the exhibit seemed lost.
All in all however, the exhibit is fun and offers a real glimpse into the creative and technical sides of the true DOLCE VITA. Tickets are £12.50 at the door.