Valentino: Master of Couture @ Sometset House

My apology for a sudden barrage of my blog updates.
I tend to write my entries while I am on the run. Like when I am on a bus or grabbing a cup of latte at Starbucks, that’s when I become the most productive blogger. Sounds like some background noise is a must for me when it comes to writing, doesn’t it?
Even now, I sit in a car dealer’s office & type away with my iPhone while they are busy fixing my in-car Bluetooth console (nobody knows why it’s in Spanish!).
Some may share the same feeling but such a situation, which sitting at MacBook with rolled up sleeves and trying to conjure up something worth reading, scares me quite a bit. All the sudden, my fingers freeze over the keyboard and my brain goes numb. Even my mouth feels dry, you know? The only explanation for this phenomenon I can think of must be to do with the extremely stressful time when I was working on my essay during my MA study. Ugh! How often I woke up in the middle of night, counting the remaining days? Well, it’s over for a long time now. Let’s not dwell on it…
I shall snap out of  my memory vault and get back to the original subject – the Valentino Exhibition!

I was so looking forward to this exhibition.
Ever since I knew about  it, I was determined to be there and I booked tickets for not only me and Hubbie but also for Letizia & her beau Peter, as well as for Fei.
However, just a few days prior to the D-Day, I started to feel a familiar yet dreaded throbbing sensation in the back of my nose. Oh no, some pesky germ had entered into my system! I took to bed with a hot water bottle, ate tons of high calorie foods… Nothing worked. And I was still fragile on Sunday.
So my last ditch attempt was a plate of hearty fry-up with a mug of steaming tea…

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Mmmm… Even the photo is blurry.
I felt marginally better after this though.

Then, a fine & crisp day at Somerset House…

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Their courtyard was transformed to a seasonal ice rink.
The people were circulating around like a school of fish. And their chatters and giggles peppered with occasional squeals made a perfect BGM for this grand yet amiable backdrop.

The exhibition seemed to be very popular and it was already heaving with eager visitors  when we entered.
Behold the main attraction, Mr.Valentino’s haute couture collection…

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The exhibition design was a triumph.
Instead of being placed on pedestals like in V&A, the garments were dressed on mannequins in rows. and besides them, empty chairs bore names of the famous faces, such as Jacqueline Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn, who were fortunate enough to receive Mr. Valentino’s personal attention…

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The degree of detailing on each dress was breathtaking. A mass of appliqué and embroidary adorned the short dress which might have been for wedding?

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Candidly speaking, his work does not inspire me. It is too traditional and conservative.
The elaborate way it was constructed was in itself, a piece of art.
However, the cut or the form was hardly an innovation. I mean, not as ground breaking as Mary Quant’s mini dresses or Mcqueen’s bumster trousers.
Therefore, for me, his creation is like a masterpiece of classically cut fine jewellery. It’s perpetual and historic. Or like a grand opulent palace, which existed  exclusively for the privileged few.
The era in which his sartorial elegance reigned, now belongs to a bygone time.
It is undeniable that the present popular culture / Pop culture has taken over the elitism which existed in the previous decades. The privilege becomes more democratic in some ways. And the very idea of luxury seems to be shifted towards less cultured or intellectual. More like just “bling”?

I couldn’t help feeling a nostalgia tinged with sadness while I was immersed in Mr. Valentino’s micro universe. Because the world we belong now is definitely much less glamorous than the one Mr.
Valentino, the master of haute couture, flexed his couturier’s muscle…

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