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Valentino: Master of Couture

Start Date 29 November 2012
End Date 03 March 2013
Venue Somerset House
Location London, UK
Curator Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda with fashion author Alistair O'Neill
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins in a tunnel with path through the centre

A major exhibition celebrating the life and work of Valentino showcasing over 130 exquisite haute couture designs. 

The exhibition featured items worn by icons such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Gwyneth Paltrow in an exciting installation created specially for Somerset House.

Divided into three sections; visitors started with a private view of Valentino’s world through photographs from his personal archive, offering an intimate portrait of the life of the master. The exhibition then unfolds into a couture fashion show where roles are reversed with visitors walking the catwalk to view a staggering one hundred and thirty Valentino haute couture designs. Valentino: Master of Couture was a journey into the secretive world of Italian couture.

The final section unpicked the painstaking processes of crafting couture exemplified by the stunning wedding dress of Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, demonstrating the beauty of the work of les petites mains who sew each stitch by hand. In addition a specially commissioned group of films allowed behind-the scenes access to the Valentino atelier, where the craft of couture was demonstrated in a series of fascinating samples. Finally, you could discover more about the man, the icon, by exploring the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House.