“Forever Valentino”: Honoring a Legend in Downtown Doha

By Erin Moonyeen Haley

Valentino’s oeuvre was lionized in an extensive exhibit at M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha, a hubbub of design ingenuity and forward-thinking fashion. In the words of Valentino’s Creative Director since 2008, Pierpaolo Piccioli, the exhibition was designed as “not a retrospective, but a perspective.” This cognizant and prescient approach was the guiding principle that Piccioli, Italian curator Massimiliano Gioni, and British fashion critic and author Alexander Fury used when designing the immersive experience. In past articles, Fury especially has spoken of Valentino being a 'couture bender' who allows viewers to find inebriated, bacchanal bliss in the beauty. Such is the intention at 'Forever Valentino'.


To achieve such immersion, the layout essentially “builds a dream-like image of the city of Rome, guiding viewers in and out of palazzos, squares, and courtyards, while simultaneously allowing exclusive access to secluded, intimate spaces.”


The experience is not only in honor of Valentino's 90th birthday but is also intended to help launch Valentino's Haute Couture Collection, aptly titled "The Beginning."


The dresses themselves are starbursts of color, especially when offset against photos of celebrities of yesteryear who made the designs famous originally, cementing the idea that Valentino and the maxim 'la dolce vita' were born to perfectly dovetail each other as style concepts.


There are over 200 pieces in the collection, making it the largest to be on display in the Middle East. Stars and fashionistas came out in full force for the opening of the event, with Naomi Campbell as the standout, wearing bright pink Valentino couture that was almost Lewis Carroll-esq with its whimsically petaled headdress.


All manners of pinks and reds dominate the exhibit, with ruffles and waterfalls of peplums accentuating every curve and silhouette, ultimately emphasizing what Piccioli stressed was Valentino's obsession with, "la magia della moda—the magic of fashion.”


The exhibit runs until April 2023.

Images courtesy of Vogue and Maison Valentino Instagram