The Master Valentino

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cate Blanchet's 2005 Oscars dress
My recent unexpected trip to Brisbane happened to come at just the right time, as I was able to catch the amazing Valentino Retrospective Exhibition 'Past/Present/Future' at the Queensland Art Gallery that just opened last month.  If you're going to be in Brisbane in the next two months (it closes 14th November) it's definitely a must see for fashion fans.  I promise you won't be disappointed if you make the effort and at only $20 (aud) it would be crazy not to see this once in a lifetime collection of exquisite haute couture garments.

The exhibition comprises of 100 outfits, a lot of them stunning dresses and gowns, dating back to Valentino's first collection in 1959 to his final collection in 2008.  Having been worn by actresses, royalty and high society ladies it is truly an extraordinary collection and seeing how tiny some of the gowns are you can get an idea of just how petite some of Hollywood's leading ladies really are.  There are gowns on display worn by Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor among many others.

There are also number of designs from Valentino's landmark White Collection from 1968, as well as a selection of signature red dresses (above).  While breathtakingly beautiful up close, the hardest part about seeing all these amazing pieces at arm's length was the temptation to want to reach out and touch the luxurious silks, laces and beading.  The exhibition also contained lots of information about Valentino's life and 50 year career, one of the highlights for me was the collection of vintage magazines featuring his dresses dating back to his first appearance in American Vogue in 1962.  There was video footage of his runway shows throughout and the whole exhibition was very cleverly put together and flowed really well. 

The last few garments were from Valentino's handpicked successors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli's Autumn/Winter 2009–10 collection showing where the label is heading in future.  I could go on and on about this master couturier's genius and incredible talent, but you really must see this exhibition for yourself if at all possible, otherwise the documentary 'Valentino: The Last Emperor' is the next best thing.  Both are a truly fitting tribute to this outstanding designer, as for the exhibition I have one word: Perfection.

The back of Julia Roberts 2001 Oscars dress

Beaded gown from 1966

A gown from Valentino's A/W 2007 - 2008 collection

Images from:

Just So Pretty x

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