Valentino | Evening gown | Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2003, Model 130 | Strapless evening gown with low-set draped pale crimson chiffon sleeves, a train with appliqué pleated crimson taffeta rosettes and red strass crystals in their centres, and pink and grey taffeta rosettes in its lining; fabric: Buche-Guillaud; embroidery: Marabitti | Collection: Valentino Archives | Photograph: Jean Tholance
On Saturday I took a trip into the city and went to the Valentino Retrospective past/present/future. My oh my, that was one gorgeous couple of hours. The exhibition encompasses haute couture from the first collection designed in 1959 by the house’s founder, Valentino Garavani, through to work from the Autumn/Winter 2009–10 creations by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli – appointed as creative directors for Valentino in 2008.
Exquisite haute couture garments will reveal Valentino’s mastery of the elegant line, classic form and opulent detail. Particular themes will be explored uniting Valentino’s design approach over five decades: these include the recurrence of geometric patterns and graphic prints, the skilful use of fabric to create dramatic silhouettes and, of course, the distinctive palette of black, white and ‘Valentino red’. The future direction of this most esteemed fashion label is showcased through five creations by the house of Valentino’s new creative directors.