All roads lead to Rome: Valentino’s couture extravaganza literally paid tribute to the designers Maria Gracia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolis eternal inspiration. My 24 hours in the eternal city were introduced with the ‘Mirabilia Romae’ tour a kind of contemporary pilgrimage on a golf cart with ten selected stations, most of them not publicly accessible, that are all related and significant for one of Valentino’s past collections.
A uniquely developed app led guests through the entire program. Needless to say my i-Phone was on a ‘heater’, and you never interrupt an i-Phone when it´s on a ‘heater’! The show at the Piazza Mignanelli at the gates of the Valentino headquarters took place under a pale-pink evening sky. Guests were then transferred to an open-air dinner at Villa Aurelia which ended by an enigmatic performance by the musician Mika. The next morning I was thrilled to be part of a first-time tour at the newly renovated couture ateliers.
Here are my personal impressions:
Buon giorno! At Hotel de Russie there are many reasons to get up early. The beautiful yard is almost meditatively quiet in the morning and the breakfast is fantastic. Loved browsing through the amazing Valentino Mirabilia Romae coffee table book by Assouline.
I loved the show finale of dark goddesses. The beautiful sculpture in the yard of the Valentino headquarters reminds me of my favorite scene with Mr. Valentino surrounded by his pugs and models in signature red from his movie ‘The Last Emperor’.
It doesn’t happen every day that the audience gives standing ovations at the finale of a fashion show. Take a close look and you will see Mr. Valentino himself next to Gwyneth Paltrow (wearing a red chiffon robe from the Fall/Winter 2016 collection) passionately applauding. The still life from the ateliers is a wonderful contrast image. Each client has her own bust made using her body measurements which are customized at the ateliers.
After witnessing a performance of Carmen in Barcelona, Valentino decided that he would always want to have the color red in his life. Together with fabric makers, he created his own red nuance. Today ‘Valentino Red’ is an official Pantone color. This picture at the Biblioteca Catanatense inspired the “Wunderkammer” Fall 2013 couture collection.
Interesting fact: couture work is solely done with a flat iron, they never use a steamer. This work can turn into hard labor because the weight of these irons can vary from 2kg to 20kg. I was told if pleating is placed incorrectly a dress can be ruined. My favorite black look worn by Lexi Boling and flat sandals, of course.
A couture dress is shaped with a flat iron. Maria Gracia and Pierpaolo’s favorite roman view is from the Sagrestia Campanile.
At the fabric warehouse all items are stacked by color shades. My tour through Rome couldn’t be more Italian. My speedy golf cart tour took me past the Pantheon, but with the show approaching I had no time to appreciate the sites!
The decorative lace on the fabric roll has to be cut out by hand. It is pieced together on tulle like a puzzle. One of the fabulous books in the the Biblioteca Casanatense.
What a perfect night for a couture show! The life of a couture seamstress does not have time for late starts after long nights partying with Mika. They continuously work year around producing their clients orders.
The Valentino DNA from the past decades has been a constant inspiration for MG und PP. The synergy between the old and the new creative directors was brilliantly portrayed in the wonderful theme rooms of the Palazzo Pecci Blunt. My favorite was the ‘White Room’ with creations from the 60ies. Skillful ‘little hands’ place contrasting color fabric underneath the white lace to embellish it.
The modern light boxes with Terry Richardson’s accessory campaign graphically contrasted the historic Palazzo Pecci Blunt decor. Another quick drive-by tourist snap this time of the bright-white Palazzo Venezia.
The atelier seamstresses cutely create their own pin boards of their creations which have been worn by hollywood stars and have appeared on magazine covers. Cute!! At the dinner in the garden of Villa Aurelia decorated with thousands of lights, my love for extravagant table setting was adequately met.
Look who I found!!! I would bet that this is Tommy Ton´s first wearing a suit jacket while shooting – it looks great on him! I love watching him approach his fashion prey always with a very friendly smile. When renovating the ateliers, absolutely beautiful ceiling frescoes were discovered. The eagle with the red ribbon was printed as an emblem on to the show invitations.
Although the Rome excursion was unique and amazing it was much easier to deal with the heat within the historical (and thick walled) buildings. Loved studying the slide collection.
While I am enjoying cool climate inside the world’s largest Valentino store, which was recently reopened and designed by the incredible architect Sir David Chipperfield, Justin is fighting the Roman heat slightly more efficient.
Inspired by the stunning couture dress from the 70s, I also choose yellow, particularly which suits my pale ‘office tan’. This gives you an idea of the show set-up which was constructed in the middle of Piazza Mignanelli.
Translation: Georgia Reeve