Upon walking in to the Gallery of Modern Art, tucked in around the corner from the State Library and well hidden from view, I was astounded by the sudden rush of sight and sound. Despite my sudden sense of claustraphobia, I forced myself inside. The queue to enter the Valentino Retrospective Art Exhibition was beyond massive; curving from the heart of the Gallery, along the back wall, up the side wall, and outside of the door for a good 800 metres. Satisfied with my pre-ordered tickets, I bustled along and entered the exhibition.
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani is more than a well-known Italian Fashion Designer: to most fashion students he is a God. Born on May 11th, 1932, this simple Saint has developed several different fashion labels throughout his 5 decades of work; such as Valentino, Valentino Roma, R.E.D. Valentino and, most popularly, Valentino Garavani. Commonly reffered to as only Valentino, he was the founder of the Valentino Spa Brand.
The Valentino Retrospective: Past, Present and Future was developed by Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris; and celebrates the renowned and glamorous designs of Valentino himself. This exhibition houses items from Valentino's first ever collection in 1959 up until his more recent 'Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 collection' (designs by Valentino's appointed creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli as of 2008).
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Upon entering, I discovered that this Exhibition was split into two major sections; each hosting different fragments of Valentino's most successful collections throughtout his career.
The First section, entitled Part 1, was composed mainly of Valentino's earlier designs, with the pieces ranging from 1960 up until 2006. The Second Section, entitled Part 2, housed garments from a much more modern era. With a majority of the pieces pulled from Valentino's collections from 1992 through to 2010.
European Royalty, celebrites and many other high-status folk have been seen wearing designs by Valentino, including Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth Taylor, Cate Blanchett and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (all of the garments worn by these women can be seen at this exhibition). I was most astounded to come across a dress worn by Julia Roberts to the Academy Awards in 1992 for her hit movie Erin Brockovitch.
After viewing the best Valentino Garavani had to offer at this Brisbane Exhibition, I must admit I was fairly disappointed. All up, the exhibition housed approxiamately 100 garments, although it seemed many less to me, and 97 of which I disliked. The designs are timeless; sophisticated. The material used is of the highest quality. But still, I only found 3 dresses that I personally found mildly interesting.
Although, to sum up the entire experience, there is only two pieces that could possibly describe the amount of work and timeless culture that has been woven together - despite vintage pieces, the elegant formal attire, and wedding dresses.
Firstly; the commonly seen Evening Gown, Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2003, Model 130. Described at GoMA's Exhibition as “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.” [Source 2] Made of Buche-Gillaud Fabric and Embroidered by Marabitti. This garment's elegance, formality, timelessness and complexity sums up the entire exhibition in one. The soft Crimson colour supports the mystery; and the flowers seem to support the multi-cultural theme. This piece was rescued from the Valentio Archives to be included in this exhibition.
The second signature piece included at this Exhibition was from the Autumn/Winter 2009-2010, collection Although not designed by Valentino Garavani himself, Look 23 stays true to the Nature of Valentino. The extreme amounts of detail included in this piece definitely showcase one of Valentino most intricate pieces; a true piece of artwork.
The themes in The Valentino Retrospective have a “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.” [Source 2]
The Valentino Retrospective: Past, Present and Future is a collection of Valentino Garavani's most successful and original designs; located at the Gallery of Modern Art in Southbank, this astonishing exhibition is open to the public from the 7th of August to the 14th of November 2010. Including a lounging area, a cafe, a gift shop and a bar: This is, truly, a fusion of art, fashion and culture that one should not miss.
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