Valentine to Valentino
Charlotte Vaudrey -- Interior Design, 10/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Travertine and chiffon, sacred and provocative. Opposites merged at a retrospective in Rome celebrating the 45th anniversary of Valentino Garavani's fashion house. "Valentino a Roma: 40 Years of Style" temporarily took over the Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Richard Meier & Partners Architects's glass box housing the Altar of Peace that Emperor Augustus constructed in 9 BC.
Exhibit designers Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda, commissioned by Valentino on the strength of their installation for "AngloMania" at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, teamed up with Vogue European editor at large Hamish Bowles to fill the 42,000-square-foot museum with a highly fashionable representation of a pagan procession. Rows of mannequins dressed in red evening gowns, arms outstretched, lined glass-paneled white wooden risers flanking the altar. Approaching it head-on were two rows of mannequins robed in white. A single mannequin, wearing a 1991 Peace dress from the haute couture collection, stood proudly on a podium, facing away from the rest.
The women swathed in white referred to the vestal virgins who once tended the altar. As for the red, that's Valentino, of course, as well as the human sacrifice that's ironically purported to have taken place at this temple of peace.