The Master

29.11.2012 | Blog | BY:

Copious amounts of Lace, velvet and chiffon adorned with beading, pleating, fringing and every other single ornate detailing imaginable have taken over the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House. Of course this can only mean one thing; Valentino, The master of Couture has arrived.

The extensive exhibition showcases over 130 hand-crafted dresses designed by the legendary Italian couturier, Valentino Garavani, throughout his illustrious 50-year career, as well as a comprehensive collection of previously unseen personal items including photographs, press clippings and letters from close friends, clients and peers including Donatella Versace, Anna Wintour and Meryl Streep.

Of course the creation of such a dress (and its painstakingly lengthy, intricate and complicated process) wouldn’t be possible without the House’s Atelier and its family of highly skilled seamstresses (Valentino refers to his as ‘Le Regazze’ a.k.a ‘The Girls.’) “Each of these designs have a beautiful story,” says Valentino. “The Atelier crafted each so diligently by hand, taking hours, sometimes days to complete. The details are incredibly intricate, though outside the runway shows and events, the dresses have rarely been seen, so to be able to showcase these designs at Somerset House, where they can be seen in great detail by the public, is very unique.”

Valentino: Master of Couture opens today until March 3rd 2013 at Somerset House, London.

somersethouse.org.uk

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The Couture Collective

10.07.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

This year’s Autumn/Winter 2012 haute couture shows were another testament to signature style. Be it the modern romance of Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli or Giambattista Valli’s ever-enticing plays on volume and silhouettes, the one unifying factor  throughout every collection was a representation of each brand’s true essence, underlined by highly-refined tailoring and draping.

Twin selects our favourite personal visions of the season…

 

Bouchra Jarrar

Couture cool is Jarrar’s calling card and although those expecting overtly dramatic ball gowns or extravagant embellishments from couture may be disappointed, her softly draped tunic dresses and forties-esque trench coat top and A-line, knife-pleated skirt combinations add a modern yet elegant touch to the couture circuit. As they say, sometimes less is more.

 

 

Chanel

This season Karl Lagerfeld saw it as his mission to put a new spin on vintage. While the collection managed to revamp classics such as the tweed suit, tea dresses and peter pan collars in a colour palette that included soft shades such as petal rose and cream, its true appeal was in the unmatchable craftsmanship of the house of Chanel. Hundred upon hundreds of hand-sewn sequins and a breathtaking feather, lace and tulle finale dress were just two examples that further solidified the label’s spot at the top of couture pyramid.

 

Dior

Couture week undoubtedly belonged to Raf Simons. Although he might have not been the most obvious successor to Galliano’s theatrical showings, the Belgian designer’s minimalist aesthetic has proved the perfect partner to Christian Dior’s original elegant and strongly feminine designs. Peplum waist tops and dresses paired with straight cut trousers, not to mention the two-sided evening gowns with crystal embellishments put a refreshingly modern spin on New Look-esque silhouettes.

 

Gambattista Valli

Nymph creatures and a fairytale narrative were woven into every fibre of Valli’s designs. Rich emerald greens and ruby garnet florals were printed on high-necked ruffled cocktail dresses and evening gowns cinched in at the waist with gold ivy belts. With a beautiful play of volume and colour, the collection was an all-round dream.

 

Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci’s tribal warrior was equipped with face-obscuring sunglasses and menacing dogs, but that didn’t keep the collection from being feminine and alluring, thanks to halter necklines and iridescent ombre fringing. In short, it was a well-balanced mixture of elegance, urbanism and the beauty of nature.

 

Maison Martin Margiela

In the light of the brand’s upcoming collaboration with high street retailer H&M, some fear that the house of Margiela will succumb to commercialism. However this collection was a piece of avant-garde artistry. From the crystal face masks to the dynamic collages of fabric and textures. Refreshing and original, it proved why Maison Martin Margiela more than deserves a permanent spot on the haute couture schedule.

Valentino

Midnight blue dresses, fully-sequined, brocade printed and embroidered cocktail pieces, as well as floor-length pleated chiffon gowns made this collection one of typical Valentino glamour, whilst  canary yellow, magenta and blood red added rich pops of colour. In our eyes, Chiuri and Piccioli can do no wrong.

 

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The Haute Roundup

27.01.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Yesterday marked the end of the Spring/Summer 2012 couture shows. The proverbial creme de la creme of fashion, only allowed to show during this three-day short Fashion Week through a Chambre Syndicale De La Haute Couture membership – haute couture doesn’t mean high dressmaking in French for nothing – showed a degree of craftsmanship and attention to detail all across the fashion spectrum.

Twin recounts our haute couture highlights from Paris…

Alexis Mabille

Proving that haute couture doesn’t have to keep to a demure palette, Mabille punched up the colour factor with his neon designs. Inspired by photographs of Lisa Fonssagrives and Christy Turlington, the creations in fabrics ranging from metallic lame to guipure lace proved that even when it comes to couture, girls just want to have fun.

Bouchra Jarrar

Working with crepe de soie, fur collars and wide-legged tailored trousers, Jarrar’s collection was a take on casual luxe. A bit of tomboy and a dash of urban sophisticate resulted in a whole lot of effortless cool.

Chanel

No couture week is complete without Karl Lagerfeld’s latest mind musings. Taking the double Cs to a more ethereal place this time around (airplane runway, anyone?) resulted in a collection of beautifully hand-embellished pieces in icy blues, ivories and midnight blacks.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab is the go-to designer for anything feminine and delicate, and this season was no exception. Lace and crystal embroidery on nude, pastel pink and pale lemon high-waisted dresses and A-line skirts made being a woman that bit more enticing.

Giambattista Valli

It may only be Valli’s second showing on the haute couture circuit, but the Italian designer proves that he can hold his own among fashion’s heavyweights. With a plethora of expertly tailored feather, lace and embroidered pieces, he’s as couture as they come.

Jean Paul Gaultier

In a beehive and winged eyeliner tribute to Amy Winehouse, Gaultier sent out a collection that was every bit as eccentric and nonchalant as the late singer herself. Encompassing pieces such as back to black shirt-tail hem skirts, leather varsity jackets and silk kimono coats tied at the waist, Winehouse probably wouldn’t have wanted her couture any other way.

Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal

Leave it to the house of Margiela to put an unconventional spin on couture. Rope, braided bracelets and hundreds of pearlescent buttons were turned into  knee-length trench coats, colourful micro dresses, and slouchy blazer and pegged trouser combos, proving that recycled fashion doesn’t have to be drab.

Valentino

It has only taken a few seasons for Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri to fully establish their trademark of girlish and graceful designs at Valentino. Marking a sweet end to haute couture fashion week, this collection of chiffon, lace and tulle in fine floral prints had a glamourised Charlotte Brontë/Jane Austen novel feel to it. Piccioli and Chiuri clearly have a talent for capturing fashion daydreams.

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Virtual Valentino

13.12.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

This week marked the launch of The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, an archive of over 5000 images, videos and sketches set up in a three-dimensional palazzo landscape.

The fashion lover’s dream of a virtual maze, the tour animates the history of the Valentino empire, as well as the story behind the creation of the 79-year-old’s most iconic pieces. An ode to the lifework of the couturier who retired in 2008, the application is an engaging and fascinating look at one of the Twentieth Century’s most legendary designers. As breathtaking as one of Garavani’s designs in real life, Valentino gone virtual proves why fashion and technology make the perfect mix.

The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum is available for download here

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