Last week I visited the Valentino Retrospective at GOMA.
I enjoyed it so much. The bit I enjoyed most, more than the clothes even, was a short accompanying video called "The Red Dress'- a behind the scenes look at the making of just one couture gown. In it, Signor Valentino sketches a dress, and briefly explains the design to his head seamstress. And then the work begins.
As she candidly explains to camera- Valentino doesn't do the real work, all the skill is provided by a team of frantic Italian women in his atelier. The engineering that goes into fitting and structuring what seems like a simple, floaty silk dress is incredible. Hours and hours of technical mastery and true craftsmanship is behind the glamour of Valentino's runway shows and the kudos he attracts.
It makes me proud to be somehow a part of this tradition- to constantly work towards mastering a craft (in the old sense of the word)- although I am no master yet- I am constantly learning new skills and I relish that process.
At the same time though, it made me yearn for a small team of competent Italian women who would do the real work for me in the background while I look glamorous and strut jewellery design's world stage. One day, one day...