Valentino:Master of Couture is coming to Somerset House

I am super excited by an exhibition that is going to be hitting London, specifically Somerset House, this November. Valentino:Master of Couture is a major new exhibition that will celebrate the life and work of the legendary designer, with a focus on his glorious haute couture pieces, as worn by some of the world’s most famous and beautiful women, including Julia Roberts, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Sophia Loren. With dresses well known from red carpet appearances, to couture that has graced the world’s biggest and best couture catwalks, and with the special appearance of privately commissioned pieces, this exhibition promises to bring all the beauty and elegance of the Valentino to a captive audience.

Lorenzo Agius Valentino with models 2007 copyright Lorenzo Agius

The list of dresses that will make up part of this exhibition are breathtaking. Think Julia Roberts in the classic 1982 vintage black and white Valentino on the night she won her Oscar for Erin Brockovich, or Jackie Onassis in a simple white shift dress that she wore to marry Aristotle in 1968. Another highlight is sure to be a royal wedding dress worn by one of the chicest of Princesses, the pearl encrusted ivory creation worn by Princess Marie- Chantal of Greece in 1995. And then, there are of course, Valentino red dresses to admire and adore, the iconic creations of a master atelier.

What I really love is how this exhibition is being organised. Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries will be transformed into a catwalk with a difference, the visitors will be ‘models’ parading along a 60 metre runway admiring the audience, who are all Valentino couture clad, providing a visual history of the label from the 1950s to today. This will be thematic rather than chronological, items will be grouped together under categories like colour, or volume.The exhibition will also offer a behind the scenes look at the work of the atelier through films that have been especially created for the exhibition, along with a chance to view the Valentino Garavani virtual museum.

Valentino with models 2007 copyright Lorenzo Agius

Valentino has himself said ‘…Each of these designs have a beautiful story…’ and Somerset House is certainly a beautiful setting, meaning that together this will be the fashion event of the winter, a much anticipated fashion exhibition for lovers of couture and all things exquisite. I personally can’t wait for it’s arrival.

The Valentino:Master of Couture Exhibition will run from November 29th 2012 to March 3rd 2013

Tickets cost £12.50.

For further information, click here.

Valentino Garavani and Natalia Vodianova 2012 copyright Cathleen Naundorf

Next A/W 2012 Press day – Celebrating 30 years of style

I can actually remember the first Next store that opened in my home town. It was the early 1980s, and a Next to Nothing opened in Kings Square, West Bromwich. As a child it always had an air of cool about it, full of what the best dressed would be wearing tomorrow, as well as today. Step forward 30 years, and Next is still a byword for affordable style on the High Street.

It seems totally appropriate for a brand that has become a British Icon to hold its 30th anniversary press day in the home of British Fashion Week. Last week, Somerset House became the setting for one of the most glamorous (and definitely the hottest) press day of the season. The Portico rooms were transformed into style studios filled with the Autumn/winter 2012 ranges.

And in this birthday year, Next has decided to focus on iconic pieces of British Style. The collection is entitled 30 years – 30 pieces, and is full of garments that signify their English heritage, from country tweeds to grey wools. There are boxy wool jackets that give a nod to new royal favourite Rebecca Taylor (in royal blue of course),  and wool fleck style coats that scream Stella Tennant and English Country piles.



But it is not all wool and tweed. The new season is also the one which contains the party season, and this was well represented in an array of stunning beaded dresses that take inspiration both from Ancient Greece (we’re not lettting London 2012 disappear any time soon), and also in The Great Gatsby, due to be released at Christmas and already much anticipated. Along with those flapper style beaded dresses, there are cloche hats and suede Mary Janes which all had me thinking about the Jazz Age.


And what of those 30 pieces? These are the icons of British style that every wardrobe should own. There’s leather, and florals, pencil skirts that have glamorous glitter thread running through them, ready to be teamed with Chanel style jackets and cardigans. There is an essential, go with anything clutch bag, and a fur trimmed cape that evokes the lush images of Dr Zhivago.


This was an inspired collection, looking forward as well as looking back, and with so many key pieces that will easily fit into your wardrobe, mixing and matching with items you already have.

Here are a few more things that I loved.


Why Don’t You have a fabulous December…

A traditional roundabout (or galloper) photogr...

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t believe it’s actually December! 2010 has rushed by us and we’re almost ready to embrace 2011. But there’s still a full 31 days of frolics, festivities, fashion and fun to enjoy before the year officially ends. Here are some ideas for activities to get you busy all December long.

  • Check out an Oscar winners dress. Harrods is currently hosting an exhibition of 10 dresses designed by Elie Saab. All the dresses have been worn by famous women, but the star of the show is sure to be the brown and floral gown worn by Halle Berry when she won her Academy Award for ‘Monsters Ball‘. So, go see it in the flesh. (Until 21st December – Harrods).
  • Don your best alpine knitwear and earmuffs and enjoy a twirl on the ice. Most major cities have set up outdoor ice skating rinks for the festive season, including the famous one at Somerset House.  Alternately, you could visit the Snowdome in Tamworth for snowboarding and skiing.
  • On display in Harrods.

  • Get some last-minute gifts from a Christmas market. There’s  Nottingham’s famous ‘Goose Fair‘, Lincoln’s christmas market in the castle grounds, York’s market, Birmingham’s German Christmas market …the list is endless. You can pick up an unusual Christmas gift whilst enjoying hot turkey sandwiches and a hot toddy. What could be better?
  • Check out a fashion exhibition. Dior illustrator Rene Grau is celebrated at Somerset House in the exhibition ‘Rene Grau and the line of beauty. ( for details) whilst the design museum is playing host to ‘Drawing fashion’ which includes original fashion drawings from Chanel, Dior and McQueen. (Until March 2011).
  • Enjoy Sex and The City 2. No, not the movie, but the follow-up to the first, successful Sex in the City night held in Cannock to raise funds for Children’s Charity Newlife. Sex in the City 2 takes place in the Bank bar, Cannock on Wednesday 8th December from 7pm. There will be half price cocktails, and cosmetics and fragrances from Vera Wang and D&G, as well as a range of dresses, shoes and bags on sale for bargainous prices.
  • Hit the Clothes Show live. This is in Birmingham from 3rd to 8th December at the LG Arena (formally the NEC). Over the weekend Gok Wan will be on hand offering fashion tips galore.
  • Enjoy a Christmas classic on the big screen! The ‘Electric Cinema’ are showing ‘White Christmas’ and ‘It’s a wonderful life’ over the festive season, with ticket prices starting at just £6.50. This would be sure to leave you with that warm festive glow and put you in a real Christmas mood.
  • Go and see possibly the campest Christmas movie release ‘Burlesque’ starring Christina Aguilara and Cher. Expect spangles, sparkles and sequins galore, along with a battle of the voices. (Released Nationwide 17th December).
  • Choose a new fragrance for Christmas. I’ve put ‘Oriens’ by Van Cleef and Arpels at the top of my Christmas list this year, if only for the amazing bottle.
  • Enjoy a shopping evening before Christmas…and then hit the sales after! River Island is hosting a shopping evening on December 2nd in association with Look magazine. Expect DJ’S, vodka cocktails and 25% discount. (selected stores only). Then…on the 26th…hit the Selfridges sale! Get there early for tremendous savings on must have ‘it’ bags and shoes.
  • Enjoy the X Factor final. I predict the final three to be Matt, Rebecca and One Direction, with Matt the winner. Will I get it right?

There’s just a few suggestions for things to enjoy in Decmber…will add more ideas as I get them.

Seasons greetings to fashionista’s everywhere!