valentino master of couture
If the outdoor ice-rink and free Tim Walker and Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibitions weren’t enough to get you to Somerset House over the holiday season, Valentino has just sealed the deal. Opening tomorrow, London gets the first look at ‘Valentino: Master of Couture‘ – a comprehensive collection of couture, much of which has never been seen outside the Valentino atelier.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the collection today, and my heart skipped a million beats. Set over two floors by the Embankment entrance, you are first taken through mementoes from the intimate life of Valentino; personal photographs, letters (including a Vogue-embossed number from Anna Wintour herself), couture invitations, et al.

Walking up the spiral staircase you enter a 60-metre Catwalk area packed with over one-hundred of Valentino’s most exquisite designs. It is a sight you simply have to see (and if photographs were allowed, I would have rinsed through my battery). Highlights include a dress and velvet jacket/trouser combination worn by Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O’s 1968 wedding dress, as well as two iconic Oscar dresses of Anne Hathaway and Julia Roberts. Iconic in a whole different way? Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece’s pearl-encrusted ivory silk wedding gown. Designed with ten different kinds of lace, it sits at the bottom of the downward staircase and acts as a segue between the Catwalk and an enclosure of small textile examples that further pay homage to Valentino’s legacy and game-changing technique.

From Pagine (disks of organza silk piled to create a page effect – technique unique to the Valentino atelier) to Rose de volant (lengths of organza silk cut on the bias shaped to form open roses) to Sudellini (double charmeuse silk rolled an and sewn around a looped length of wool), this is the best-value couture class you will ever find.

Grace Kelly loved him, Sophia Loren loved him, and now – fashionista – now you will, too. I urge you to get your drappeggi-clad tush there before March 3rd.


#valentinoexhibition
Admission £12.50, £9 concessions

life

“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”
Sophia Loren

Dolce Gabbana SS12
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana impressed me so significantly with their last D&G show that I half-expected myself to be let down by Dolce & Gabbana‘s current season. I mean, the odds of two knockout collections in one week…?

They’ve done it, anyway. Dolce & Gabbana for Spring/SUmmer 2012 was an all-out visual extravaganza. Inspired by a picturesque summertime in a small, southern Italian town circa 1950, the fiocus, flare and farmer’s market glamour a term I never thought I’d use – was absolutely stunning. There was a fit and flow to dresses that I have been dying to see since New York Fashion Week, and a radiant, bedazzled descant throughout.

With Sophia Loren singing out the lyrics to “Mambo Italiano” over waves of labyrinthine construction, the collection was the antithesis of guidette, Jersey Shore “Italian”; it was dazzling sophistication. View Post

Vogue Paris Un dimanche a la campagne Sasha Pivovarova
JACKPOT, Vogue Paris. “Un dimanche à la campagne” is my favourite editorial of the entire year. It is ridiculously charming, the photography by Mikael Jansson is perfect, and Sasha Pivovarova plays the chemistry with the mini-Sophia Loren better than you could storyboard. All images below. View Post


Christophe Decarnin is the brains behind Balmain. Oh my, what big brains he has.

In a little less than two seasons, Decarnin managed to take the label from the sartorial backburner and turn it into one of the most replicated brands in the high street today. How? A far cry from the delicate pieces worn by Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner when Balmain was emerging, Christophe has managed to keep the quality and inject it with a universal, edgy and polished style that even Mr. Oscar de la Renta couldn’t achieve in his 8 years designing for the label.

As A/W 2010 took a more feminine turn, his ultra-flattering collections will be sure to continue to change our wardrobe staples in the seasons to come.