Saturday, January 19

Valentino: Master of Couture Click for more info

Yes, that's right: this was an exhibition on fashion. And leaving aside my general disinterest in the topic, I actually reserve a special sneer for Valentino, the jeans of whom were such a big deal way back in school and college. Looking back I'm glad I wasn't another rude boy statistic who owned a pair.

On the other hand I do like to expose myself to new things, particularly those outside of my comfort zone. And there's no doubt that fashion has a relevance in society and culture whether I like it or not, so when I had the opportunity to check out an exhibition on one of the world's biggest designers, I thought it would be interesting enough to check out.

And it was for a bit. The first 5% of the exhibition is a display of various letters, invitations, sketches and memorabilia from the life of Valentino, all evidence of a world apart from that of our own, where a dress or party could be a life changing event. The final 5% was a collection of various media demonstrating how some examples of designer clothes were made - you know, fancy pleats and bows and flowers and the like.

The bulk of the exhibition (90% for those of you who really don't like maths) was on the catwalk, a collection of over 150 dresses created by Valentino. It was all a bit overwhelming actually, although I was surprised (or perhaps not) by how few I actually liked the look of. I suppose then I prefer the more boring, conventional and square look - and since that's an explicit opinion I've only formed after seeing what else was available, I guess even for me there was some value for coming here today.

Overall I would have preferred a bit more about Valentino's development - perhaps twice or even three times what was actually presented - but I suppose those who know fashion more intimately would have gotten exactly that through the medium of wardrobe. But exhibitions like these are supposed to be a little more accessible than that, otherwise there's a danger of them just becoming gratification; in this case fashion porn.

So then in general terms I can't really recommend this one, and that not just because I'm not interested in the topic being covered. But then again, those who will enjoy this will already know that they will anyway.

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