On the occasion of Qatar Creates, the Qatar Museum and Maison Valentino present “Forever Valentino”, a major exhibition paying tribute to its founder Valentino Garavani and his priceless legacy of excellence in Haute Couture, yet to be discovered and rediscovered.
At M7, the design and innovation hub in Msheireb, Downtown Doha, “Forever Valentino”, an exploration of the Maison’s Haute Couture codes and a journey through Rome, Valentino’s home, the place where it all began and where his identity belongs, opened today-it will remain open to the public until April 1, 2023.
The Maison’s largest exhibition to date, and its first ever presentation in the Middle East, comes to coincide with Valentino Garavani’s 90th birthday and the presentation of the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022 collection in the heart of Rome.
The exhibition is conceived as a vast overview of the history of the Maison, set in a setting that evokes the Eternal City, which has been Valentino’s home since its founding in 1959.
The exhibition builds a dreamlike image of the city of Rome, guiding viewers in and out of palaces, squares and courtyards, while allowing exclusive access to secluded and intimate spaces such as Valentino’s famous Ateliers, the Maison’s historical archives and the rehearsal lounges of the legendary Piazza Mignanelli headquarters.
The “Forever Valentino” exhibition chronicles a fast-paced city built as a collage of environments and experiences in which Valentino’s creations are displayed in constant dialogue with many of the sources of inspiration that stimulated the creativity of the founder and his successor and creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.
The exhibition composes an emotional dramaturgy inspired by capriccio, an 18th-century art form that combined disparate views of cities and architecture, reimagining them as fantastical landscapes of the mind. Conceived by Baroque geniuses such as Giovanni Antonio Canaletto and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the art of capriccio transformed Italy’s marvelous vistas into enchanted mirages, creating many of the icons and myths that still build perceptions of Italy both locally and internationally. Fashion itself is composed of whimsy: fantasies, inspirations, art, music, culture, all translated into fabric.
Featuring more than 200 Haute Couture and ready-to-wear Valentino pieces accompanied by accessories and objects, “Forever Valentino” weaves a picture of the city of Rome filled with private memories and precious discoveries from six decades of the Maison’s history, including rarely seen dresses designed for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy and, most recently, Zendaya.
Rather than recontextualized within the walls of a museum, Valentino’s creations here evoke their own context: carrying with them traces of where they were created, they are discovered in their natural habitat.
The pieces are chosen instinctively, emotionally, evoking the joy of color, the dignity and grace of Romanesque architecture, the love sewn into every seam. Part of the history of fashion, culture and Rome, Valentino’s creations appear as an integral part of the heritage of the maison and its birthplace.
Few brands have established as deep a connection with their city of origin as Valentino has with Rome, and in the work of Valentino Garavani’s successor, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Rome appears no longer as an exclusive emblem of opulence but as a vibrant, multicultural metropolis.
“Forever Valentino” stages a pop-up, dreamlike vision of Rome, even more fascinating when viewed in Doha, a city where the past and the future meet at a dizzying speed.
The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum in New York, and fashion critic and author Alexander Fury, in close collaboration with Pierpaolo Piccioli.