Dress shopping at Valentino, Paris
Walking into the hallowed ground of the couture showroom of Valentino, Paris located on the Place Vendome discreetly tucked away on the second and third floors, by appointment only, was a once in a lifetime experience.
My niece was in Paris shopping for a wedding dress and we had her stylist friend and my sister in tow. Thanks to my niece’s Hollywood connections and said stylist we “scored” an appointment in the hushed rooms of the very tanned Italian designer who was beloved by Jackie Onassis and so many others.
I recall so well Nancy Regan’s gown’s in Valentino red back in the 1980’s, but the designer who is now 83 years old sadly has retired; he held his last show in 2007. Viewing the new Valentino couture collection 2015, created by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli who have worked with the designer since 1999, was an absolute thrill. Inspecting the collection of stunning evening gowns and cocktail dresses was almost as pinch-worthy as being in the palatial rooms.
There are two floors of couture, we stayed on the first of the two as the second one is where the accessories are shown. On that floor there are two rooms showing couture designs, one room was smaller and displayed the cocktail dresses, almost of all of which were white, with a lot of sequins and embellishments of all sorts. There is a sense of the 60’s in this collection, very hippy-chic. We knew that the entire escapade would be extremely expensive but when we learned that the cocktail dresses start at 50,000 euros we tried to not let our chins drop to the floor.
The larger of the two rooms displayed a variety of longer dresses and gowns plus some incredible embroidered boots befitting of a rock star. The looks went from hippy-flower girl to Game of Thrones medieval, each single piece was made with exquisite attention to detail.Embroidery, lace, velvet, silk, flowers and geometric patterns – every dress was a work of art. And they cost as much too. The house of Valentino only does about 20-25 custom couture wedding dresses each year, prices start at a mere 150,000 euros!
You are requested to try on any of the designs that interest you, then they will work with the silhouette that you like and looks best on you and then they make it in white, ecru, cream or champagne color altering the design along the way to suit your vision with the help of the custom alternation designer on hand of course. We sipped our espressos and even though we knew that 150k was about 140,000 over budget my niece tried on a few designs.
There was a smokey light blue velvet dress that we were all drooling over and another deep burgundy velvet gown that looked gorgeous on her.
We even toyed with the idea of a burgundy wedding dress as it takes place in the UK in November in a large “Hall” which I’d call a castle. Thanks to the price-tag however, we didn’t toy too long.As you discuss the possible iterations of the silhouette, their extremely professional Italian designer sketches away to create something that might appeal. After asking many questions as we could get away with, acting as comfortable as possible (while feeling totally out of place) and sneaking as many photos for you my dear readers as possible we declared that we had to think about it and we left.
Right before we left, my niece asked them if she could take the sketch he had designed on a piece of Valentino stationary as a memento and they laughed and said, absolutely not!
Want to know more about the designer, the documentary film about him and his last show, the Last Emperor is superb.