Wednesday 17 November 2010

A Luscious Tribute to Valentino

silk serge gown with handpainted coral motif  by photographer Ruven Afanador

For almost 50 years, Valentino created exquisite and coveted designs for both pret-a-porter and Haute Couture. Based in Rome, his was the first couture house outside of Paris to be recognized by the French government, and his contribution to fashion is recognized in a fabulous Rizzoli publication, Valentino: Themes and Variations by Pamela Golbin. It catalogues the designer’s most beautiful looks from all the way back to the 60s, to his last collection in 2008.

Published in association with an exhibition at the prestigious Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris,Valentino: Themes and Variations explores the coutourier’s recurring motifs – variations on the ideas of line, surface, and volume, as well as geometry, pleats, and flowers – through photos, sketches, fabric samples, and striking editorial images.

“I think a couturier must establish his style and stick to it. The mistake of many couturiers is that they try to change their line with every collection. I change a little each time, but never too much, so as not to lose my identity.” Valentino

Francois Halard photographs from Spring 2008 document Valentino’s backstage fittings for his final couture collection and reveal the intensity and passion that contributed to making his shows so perenially popular with editors, socialites, celebs, and fashionistas. Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giametti reviewing dress rehearsal for Spring 2008 Couture Collection. Paris.

Behind the scenes preparation for Valentino’s last collection.

It’s about details, craftsmanship, and timeless design.

This gorgeous hardcover coffee table book is a catalogue of Valentino’s most beautiful and famous dresses. The book has minimal text, which is entirely appropriate as the clothing speaks for itself. There are some great backstage shots with models like Natalia Vodianova and Sasha P as well as shots of seamstresses putting together the clothes. Some sketches of the dresses and the finished products are shown side-by-side.

Valentino writes a short introduction and there is a biography of him at the back of the book, followed by photos of the designer’s numerous campaigns. The book features the designer’s work in chapters entitled “Themes” ~ Ornamentation; Technique and  ”Variations” ~ Line; Volume.

It’s a beautiful book for anyone who loves Valentino or for anyone who appreciates haute couture.

A young Valentino Garavani perusing his first collection (Spring/Summer 1959)

The book spans Valentino’s entire career and is full of beautiful images of the designer’s exquisite creations over the years. It has a particular focus on the many intricate techniques employed by Valentino to embellish his gowns accompanied by crisp detail shots highlighting the fine craftsmanship that distinguishes haute couture frompret-a-porter. The book also chronicles Valentino ad campaigns over the years many shot by world class fashion photographers and featuring familiar faces such as a young Anjelica Huston (Spring/Summer 1972).

The tomb of eye-candy features images by the worlds best fashion photographers who have captured Valentino’s dresses for magazine editorials and portraits of supermodels and Vals girls.

“Christy-Valentino, Le Grand Hotel”
Photographed by Walter Chin, Italian Vogue, March 1993

There are so many beautiful images…..

{Images & sources: fashion tribes; the peak of chic}


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