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The Unforgettable Valentino

Friday, October 28, 2011
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On Tuesday evening, Valentino hosted a cocktail party and book signing for Hal Rubenstein‘s new hardcover 100 Unforgettable Dresses at the store’s Madison Avenue boutique. When it came down to picking the 100 dresses for his 200 page retrospective, Rubenstein told AVENUEinsider that, at the end of the day, “it all comes down to moments. It’s about the right woman wearing the right dress at the right time.”


Not surprisingly, many of those “right dresses” happened to be courtesy of Mr. Valentino, and a few of the store mannequins were dressed from the archives, complete with Valentino-red lipstick.  Among the iconic dresses on display were the black and white dressJulia Roberts wore to accept her Oscar (itself a vintage from 1982), and the seafoam green, chiffon, off-the-shoulder flowy frock that Jennifer Lopez wore to the Oscars at the height of her “Bennifer” fame.


Also on display was Mr. Valentino’s first red dress, a cocktail length stunner with chiffon rosettes detailing the skirt.  And here’s another piece of trivia most of us never knew: the inspiration behind Valentino’s signature red came from costumes from an opera at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. That tidbit can be found in Rubenstein’s book (available now at Barnes and Noble and at amazon.com) and it is that attention to the history of the garment, along with some very amusing anecdotes, that separates Rubenstein’s book from your prototypal coffee-table tome.


Carlos Souza, Shirin Von Wulffen, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Olivia Chantecaille, Gigi Mortimer, and Dani Stahl – who will be sporting much of Mr. V as the designated style expert on E!’s new show, Scouted– were among the chic, champagne-sipping crowd who toasted the In Style fashion director. The irony of New York women known for their unforgettable style attending a book party that celebrates unforgettable style was not lost on many of the guests.  Potential subjects for a Part II? One can always hope.


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by Kelsy KershawPhotographed by Billy Farrall