Friday, 18 January 2013

Valentino Exhibition at Somerset House - Part 1

Hello all, I am going to do a two part post regarding the Valentino exhibit currently held at Somerset House in London.  I took a lot of photos for those of you who may not be able to see the exhibition here in London themselves. The Valentino exhibit will be at the Somerset House until the 3rd of March 2013 so if you are in London, do try and get there before it ends.  The exhibit is well worth a visit and the venue is a pure bonus.  It made me wonder why I don't go there every week. 

Hopefully tomorrow in Part 2, I will post some photos and video footage from a talk I went to at Somerset House after I saw the exhibit related to the Valentino show, couture, and some extra bits.  It was called, very simply, Valentino: Italian Couture discussed.  The speakers were Alistair O'Neil who is a lecturer at Central St Martins and also one of the curators of the exhibit.  The other speaker was Sonnet Stanfill who is the curator of 20th century and contemporary fashion at the V & A museum. 

So come and join me...

I walked part of my journey and walked past the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

I normally don't walk by this part of the building and this dancer pirouetting caught my eye.

Please excuse the pictures - I will try harder next time but it was freezing and I am still mastering my camera.

The puppet dancer is actually inside a half sphere sticking out of the building.

The dancer kept doing pirouettes and going round and round.

Next time, I will get you better shots to better illustrate.

For those of you who can easily visit this area - it is located on the southeastern corner of the building.

Guess which restaurant is almost ready to open right next to the Opera House?

It only took more than a decade to get to London but yes - Balthazar from New York!

I tried to get a sneak peek and preview but this is as best as I could manage.

It seems as close as you can get to the New York original - 
great lighting, no?
Lyceum Theatre rather empty - looks weird without a throng of people.
Walking through the entrance under the Courtauld Gallery.

There she is -  Somerset House.
I go and find the exhibition which included 
a lot of directions on the floor.
I arrive at the beautiful stairwell and find an installation of the iconic Valentino red chiffon fabric.

This was in the middle of the stairwell - 
which was four stories high!
So I went back and rebelled against the arrow.
I went up another two floors and took a picture from the top of the fabric to give you another view.

Walking down but loved how the fabric hangs and drapes like a gown at the way bottom.

When I got halfway down - I looked up again.
Then I looked down - 
I have to say the middle view was perfect either way.
I am back on track - heading downstairs.

I just couldn't help looking at this hanging fabric. 
I am not normally into hanging fabric - for the record.

I love how this is reminiscent of the natural cascade of drapery on a ballgown on the red carpet.

A few more glances up from the way bottom.

Without the context, this installation would not 
have worked for me. 
So I hope you now understand why I wanted to show you all angles.
Ok, ok,  enough of the fabric, let's get going to the actual show.
Et Voila. 
There were three parts to the show - the beginning was private letters and materials related more to Valentino himself.  The lighting was really dark and the reflection couldn't show details but there were a lot of Christmas cards sent from the British Royal family.

No, he wasn't waiting for me but I wanted to show you how the main gallery looked.
It was like a catwalk from the 50's with chairs and dresses on either side. You were meant to zig zag down.

One of this famous gowns - 
Julia Roberts won her Oscar in this dress.
The photos are blurry because they wouldn't allow photos so I thought they meant flash photography so I used my phone but then they said - No Photos at all! But she let me keep these.  
So this is just a poor teaser.

This is his oldest existing couture dress from his first collection.
This was my personal favourite.

I wish I could tell you more about the dresses but there just was not enough information.

This dress illustrates the couture technique of Budellini. 
This is when charmeuse silk is rolled and sewn around a looped length of wool.   
Each line on the bodice takes about an hour to make!
I only learned this in the talk afterwards...

The exhibit held dresses amazing craftsmanship but there was no context and proper direction.  
There was no explanation, no audio guide, and the accompanying pamphlet was not very helpful.
 They grouped the dresses in color groups to show you when they were produced.

 The dresses were numbered but with a simple explanation of fabric and date of collection.
This was a glossary of Couture terminology.

If I had not gone to the talk afterwards, I would have felt a bit flat.  In fact, there were people who had the guts to tell Alistair that there was not enough context. He was one of the curators of the show!!!

But still I think that this is a great way to get up close and examine the wearable works of art.

For further viewing of his dresses, please visit his virtual museum - click here.

Just to warn you - Ipads won't work on it and it is a bit fiddly to work.

Thanks for coming by!


  1. amazing post, adoring your cute blog!

    lots of love from the c&p girls,
    casper&pearl blog

  2. Great post Naomi! Thanks for sharing since I can't get to London for this! Lovely! Have the best weekend! xo Caroline

  3. love this it and also your blog! It's so nice!!! I follow you!
    Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad :D

  4. Looks amazing... I can't wait to go... Thanks for the tour... Enjoy your weekend... and the snow! xv


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