After “Dior, designer of dreams”, Doha’s M7 fashion hub is hosting the “Forever Valentino” exhibition, a dazzling installation by Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum New York, and Alexander Fury, fashion critic and author, in close collaboration with Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino‘s creative director.

Forever Valentino presents a dreamlike vision of Rome in the heart of Doha, a city where past and future meet at breakneck speed. With the World Cup just 20 days away, the Qatari capital is already attracting celebrities and high-profile figures from the world of art and fashion.

The tour begins with an archive collection dedicated to “Valentino red”, passes through patterns of white in a reproduction of the House’s Roman workshops, and stops at an abstract vision of the “Eternal City”.

Rome and La Dolce Vita are inseparable, and the next room is dedicated to the celebrities dressed by this magician, who often created costumes for Italian cinema, especially for Antonioni’s films. The dazzling “Valentino Rose” is then revealed before taking the giant elevator to the upper floor where the final breathtaking scene unfolds across 200 window mannequins dressed in the designer’s most iconic pieces and are presented on amphitheater steps reminiscent of Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps.

Most of the guests gathered to celebrate the opening of this exceptional exhibition wore their best Valentino outfits as a tribute. Many of them, especially the men, chose to wear the particular shade of pink made famous by the designer.

A dreamlike image of the city of Rome
All roads may lead to Rome, but when Rome moves to Doha, they take quite a detour. Forever Valentino is a stunning theatrical experience that exports the House’s haute couture codes and takes visitors on a journey through the Eternal City, the place from which Valentino’s identity is inseparable, and where, for him, everything began. The exhibition is the largest ever organized by the Maison and the first to be presented in the Middle East. Coinciding with Valentino Garavani’s 90th birthday and the unveiling of the Valentino Fall/Winter 2022 haute couture collection in the heart of Rome, it is conceived as a vast panorama of the House’s history, set in scenography that evokes the Eternal City, Valentino’s home since its founding in 1959.

Built as a dreamlike image of the city of Rome, where visitors walk inside and throughout palaces, squares and courtyards, the exhibition also reserves stops in intimate spaces where one can have a sneak peak at the brand’s famous workshops, the House’s historical archives and the reproduction of the salons of its legendary headquarters in Piazza Mignanelli. “Rome appears here,” explains Gioni, “as an instantaneous city that has arisen from a collage of environments and experiences in which Valentino’s creations are presented in dialogue with the many sources of inspiration that stimulated the creativity of the founder and his successor Pierpaolo Piccioli.”

“An emotional dramaturgy”
“Through the juxtaposition of different atmospheres and narratives, the exhibition composes an emotional dramaturgy inspired by capriccio, an 18th-century art form that combines disparate views of cities and architecture, reimagining them as fantastical landscapes of the mind,” the set designer also explains. Conceived by Baroque geniuses such as Giovanni Antonio Canaletto and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, capriccio transforms marvelous Italian vistas into enchanted mirages, creating many of the icons and myths that still influence the perception of Italy both locally and internationally. Fashion itself, after all, is made up of capriccios – fantasies, materialized inspirations, art, music and ultimately culture translated into fabric.

“The pieces presented were chosen instinctively, emotionally, evoking the joy of color, the dignity and grace of Roman architecture, the love present in every gesture – an emotional resonance that is the raison d’être of high fashion,” Gioni continues. Inscribed in the history of fashion, culture and Rome, Valentino’s creations are an integral part of the House’s heritage and its birthplace.

How, finally, can we talk about Valentino without mentioning the designer’s deep connection to La Dolce Vita at its peak? This golden age of Italian cinema is reflected in gowns created for Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy and, more recently, the actress and model Zendaya. The exhibition also includes ensembles from the private collection of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, a longtime Valentino client.