Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hail Valentino, Past, Present and Future

After hearing Fal's rave reviews, I couldn't wait to visit the Valentino Retrospective Past/Present/Future exhibition myself. Finally, it was my turn to get up close and personal with Valentino's exquisite Haute Couture creations. I was so impressed that plans are underway for Fal and myself to visit the exhibition again.


Valentino's love for glamour and embellishments as well as a cheeky disregard for trends renders his creations timeless. I amused myself thoroughly by playing "guess the year this dress showed". (I was often wrong.) Indeed, Valentino's works of art are so removed from fashion trends that come and go that one can only hazard a guess the date of his designs. It was so hard to place the creations in any particular era.


Ruffles, volume, florals (and flowers), sequins, embroidery, fur, faux fur, feathers, ... You name it, you got it. Valentino manipulated all these and more into his creations and they never seemed out of place, so his gowns never looked out of style.

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Valentino's technical mastery and interesting techniques were stunning. The elaborate and intricate embroidery that Valentino used to add to uniqueness of his designs was mind blowing. It's a pity I couldn't get a good picture of any of the beautiful embroidered pieces. One fascinating technique is the Budellini which is the concentric use of strips or braids of material applied to the gown in order to highlight certain parts of the body. Valentino always made it a point to accentuate the woman's body, particularly her waist. The Budellini technique is excellent in producing an alluring hourglass silhouette of the woman's body.

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Red, which eventually became the signature of Valentino, suits the label to the tee.


I personally love this red gown. It is a classic, so simple yet you'll definitely take a second look.


When the Valentino gowns are made to make your jaw drop, they, well, make your jaw drop. When they aren't made to surprise, shock and awe, they are gorgeous classics. Executed to perfection with ordinary fabrics and clean lines, these are equally breathtaking.


I agree with Fal that pictures do not do any of the gowns justice. I apologise for the bad pictures. The exhibition hall was terribly dim and it was impossible to use flash because the gowns were (rightly and cleverly) encased in thick glass.

One really has to make a trip down to the exhibition to take in Valentino - the gowns, inspirations, embellishments, the man himself - in order to understand just why Valentino Garavani is revered one of the great fashion designers of our time.


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