LONDON Nov 29 The Oscar dress worn by Julia
Roberts and a frock for Audrey Hepburn are just two tantalising
items out of the dozens of sumptuous pieces gathered for a new
show in London celebrating Italian designer Valentino Garavani's
50 years in fashion.
"Valentino: Master of Couture" at Somerset House on the
River Thames in central London features more than 130 pieces
from a designer whose clients included Grace Kelly, Jackie
Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret.
Dressed in a light grey suit and lilac shirt, the man simply
referred to in the industry as Valentino told reporters he hoped
to do more shows in England in the future.
"I love England, I love to be in London and I hope to be
able to come very often to do other exhibitions, other Valentino
things in this beautiful city," he said.
Besides the black velvet evening gown with white ribbons
Roberts wore when she won the best actress Oscar and a delicate
floral dress with green sash designed for Hepburn, the
exhibition delves into Valentino's personal letters and
photographs, displays handcrafted couture gowns and has digital
installations, including videos of his atelier.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a huge white flower
installation with interactive projections and quirky display
cases made of plush white upholstered chairs.
A pale lilac carpet on the next level leads visitors towards
a catwalk, where rows of white chairs are lined up amongst more
than 130 pieces from Valentino's couture collections.
"We want visitors to feel in the centre of things on the
catwalk, so it's a privileged catwalk in a sense...We hope it's
going to be a really pleasurable experience," co-curator
Alistair O'Neill told Reuters.
Mannequins, sporting blonde wigs in different hairstyles,
are dressed in decadent evening gowns with ruffled floral
details, in the designer's signature red, as well as black, soft
creams and animal prints.
The exhibition took around a year and a half to assemble,
said O'Neill, who co-curated the show alongside Patrick Kinmouth
and Antonio Monfredo.
The collection also features sleek capes, brightly coloured
kaftans and chic day dresses which span Valentino's work over
the past 50 years.
"We wanted to be able to show something of this very
rarefied world," O'Neill said.
"It's very normal for Mr Valentino...but for us, it's an
amazing thing to step into."
(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang, editing by Paul Casciato)