Because I love the work of Valentino so much I’m surprised I haven’t written an in-depth piece on him before now but consider this an emergency post as opposed to a more thoughtful, academic one. When I was on Purse Forum the other day, reading a thread on Hermès scarves—and side note, may I say I love those gals, you could not find a more meticulous, dedicated bunch—one of the members had posted a couple of pictures of a Valentino exhibit happening right now in Singapore!
My immediate thought was, Excuse me, did I read that correctly? I headed right over to Google and am now green with envy over the exhibition of Valentino red in a land far, far away!
Valentino Retrospective: Past/Present/Future is at the Resorts World Sentosa, in Sentosa, Singapore. It opened December 22, 2010 and will run until February 13, 2011. Over 100 couture pieces are on display, including early Valentino designs as well as dresses worn by Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Elizabeth Taylor. Also part of the exhibit are more recent pieces by current Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, appointed to their posts in October 2008 when Valentino retired.
The writer Dorothy Parker once said of English novelist E.M. Forster, "I'd go on my hands and knees to get to Forster." I feel the same way about this pink dress with accompanying petal cape.
Why oh why can’t this exhibition come to New York? Or anywhere in the United States for that matter? If you know anyone who is traveling to Singapore over the next three weeks, please tell them to visit this retrospective and send me clear and detailed pictures!
You see, Dear Reader, when I see the dress above, the perfect-shade-of-pink dress with its accompanying petal cape, I swoon. Think of how that cape was made, starting with the design of it, then the search for the perfect fabric, the cutting of those petals, the layering of those petals, finding a way to give them lift and volume without weight, to keep the design light and airy. Think of what the seamstresses went through, the endless stitching to hold the petals into place! I practically want to weep at its beauty. I know the world can be a harsh and terrible place but seeing a dress and cape like this makes me happy to be alive. It just brightens my whole day to know I live in a world that can contain something of such beauty, made by human hands!
As a consolation prize for not being able to see this exhibit in person, I will (finally!) buy the glorious book Valentino: Themes and Variations by Pamela Golbin and Valentino. I borrowed it from the library once (and kept renewing it), but I think it’s time to add a copy to my fashion library. I also think it’s time to re-watch the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor.
All dress and installation images from the Resorts World Sentosa site.