Sunday, March 15, 2009

Valentina !


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Visited the Valentina exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York today. The gloved gown to the left was for exotic Hollywood beauty Merle Oberon. The green gown was designed for Lillian Gish who apparently wore Valentina both on and off stage. Finally to the right this Katharine Hepburn ensemble was for The Philadelphia Story. Valentina declared "At last, I made her look like a woman."

To your left are three Greta Garbo pieces. Apparently Garbo was pretty damn specific about what she wanted. The coat to your left she asked that it be
...a combination of The Duchess of Windsor, Lady Mendl and George Bernard Shaw
You can't see the details too well here but the gown to your right, the "petal pink and black floral medallion silk brocade" is amazing.

Valentina was quite a high society character (why no biopic of her?), a young immigrant who became a self made celebrity carefully controlling her image and lying about her past. She was one of the original superstar designers, on equal fame footing with her clients and fond of delivering eminently quotable soundbites like
My salon is like a clinic where I treat clients for bad taste
The exhibit also had a clip of a fun televised interview between her and Edward R Murrow which brought back memories of David Straitharn's Oscar winning* performance in Good Night, and Good Luck. Good night, good luck and good times.

*I like to pretend sometimes


john said...

Wow, shocking red! Thats the thing about black and white films, you forget that the costumes might actaually have been a strong colour.

Lisa said...

wow, I would have loved to have been there!

maybe you will enjoy this exposition too:

"Him + Her" , by Candice Breitz

Unfortunately I don't live in NYC, but I think this is just too good to let it pass.

Christine said...

I can't believe how red that outfit is. It's gorgeous. Also, "Put me in your pocket, Mike!"

Paul Outlaw said...

Nat, have you forgotten PSH in Capote? ;-)


paul omg. ha ha. that's what i get for typing from my cellphone ;)

Billy D said...

Fantastic exhibition, and an amazing publication (especially good if you are into Garbo gossip). Pick up a copy if you can afford it, because the info and pictures are amazing. And isn't that clip the funniest thing? She was an incredible designer and an incredibly successful businesswoman (her business actually grew over 25% in 1929), and her work deserves more praise.

Its hard to put on a really great costume exhibition with so many pieces (I work in textiles at a Museum) and they did a really great job with all of the dressing. The quotes on the wall was also a genius touch.

I am so happy to see this on your page Nat!


thanks Billy D

i agree that it was very well thought out. And for so many pieces it didn't feel so cramped that you couldn't see each of them. One time I was standing beside two ladies who were angry that one gown had the mannequin turned to face the wall, showing off the back of the gown. They wanted to see the front. had to point out that the mannequin was looking into a mirror and therein you could see the front.