Valentino, Master of Couture at Somerset House examines the career of this celebrated fashion designer that covers his six decades of couture design beginning in the 1950's.
As you enter the second room of the exhibition there are patterns projected onto a giant beautiful (wall mounted) flower that towers above visitors looking at the cabinets of photos, press cuttings and letters below. These letters adressed to Valentino from various designers, celebrities, fashion press and royalty leave me wondering why they are included? Are they really necessary when these are the sorts of correspondence you would expect a designer of his stature to receive?
Upstairs there is a catwalk leading us through Valentinos career on either side of the runway that visitors walk on. The designer is undoubtedly a master of elegant, clean cut and stylish dresses that could make any woman feel beautiful, but it is the garments that employ more embroidery and ask more questions of his fashion house seamstresses or embroiders that stand out. These include dresses and other garments spanning forty years of collections, from the Spring/Summer 1968 to the S/S 2008 collection.
Returning downstairs there is an elegant art deco style backdrop behind the section devoted to the royal wedding dress Valentino designed. Then before the show ends in the exhibition shop, there is rightly a room devoted to some of the techniques pioneered by the Valentino house seamstresses.
Unfortunately I cannot include any pictures of the work in the exhibition, so fans of Valentino or couture should go to see the work for themselves...