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The Telegraph

The Last Emperor strikes back

Valentino retrospective heading for Somerset House

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Retired Italian couturier, Valentino Garavani, will be the star of Somerset House retrospective this winter.

Six yapping pugs, his signature shade of red, and that signature skin-tone of teak: these are just a few of the many of things fashion has missed since Valentino Garavani's retirement five years ago.

Valentino GaravaniNow Italy's greatest couturier is set for a long-overdue retrospective. A new exhibition opening at Somerset House this November will present over 130 couture commissions designed by Valentino for clients including Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophia Loren. These will be presented around a Valentino "catwalk" along which visitors will negotiate their way through the thematically arranged collection of gowns, trouser suits, miniskirts capes and kaftans.
"Each of these designs have a beautiful story," said Valentino for a press note released by Somerset House today: "The atelier crafted each so diligently by hand, taking hours, sometimes days to complete… 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."
The exhibition - entitled Valentino: Master of Couture - will open with a room of photographs and keepsakes from Valentino's personal archive. Visitors will then take to that dress-displaying catwalk before finishing with an installation of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece's ten-types-of-lace Valentino wedding gown, and a room dedicated to the Valentino atelier.
That atelier, in Rome's Piazza Mignanelli, is now under the highly praised creative control of Valentino's successors Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Valentino: Master of Couture opens at Somerset House on November 29 and will run until March 3, 2013. For those who cannot bear to wait that long, a viewing of the 2008 documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor comes highly recommended.
Stand-out quotes from the man himself include "I don't care about the collection. My dogs are much more important."
For more information see somersethouse.org.uk
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