PHOTOS BY: ANDREAS BRANCH/PATRICK MCMULLAN & GETTY IMAGES.
Let me set the scene. To celebrate the opening of their new Rodeo Drive Flagship store in Beverly Hills, designed by award-winning architect Sir David Chipperfield, Valentino’s extraordinary Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chirui (in a magnificent gown) and Pierpaolo Piccioli, flew in from Milan to host a very special evening for a 150 select guests, along with hand-picked co-hosts, Maria Bell, Gia Coppola, Nicky Hilton, Helen Kinnear, Nathalie Love, Minnie Mortimer, Shannon Rotenberg, and Julia Sorkin.
It was quite a night as VALENTINO rolled out a very fashionable star studded carpet. Everyone from Kim Kardashian, a very pregnant Molly Sims, Alice Eve, Rachel Zoe, Abigail Spencer, Jessica Szohr, Jaime King, Rose McGowan, Minka Kelly, Rachel Roy, Cat Deeley, Ellie Kemper, Jessica Stroup, Monet Mazur, Jason Lewis and E!’s George Kotsiopoulos turned up to celebrate. Due to the celebrity factor there was a big media presence, security was intensified, and a one-story, green hedge functioned as a beautiful backdrop for the Spring theme the step and repeat while providing added protection. There was even a tougher check-in and gorgeous black studded security bracelets for guests that match the metal studs on Valentino’s’ Spring shoe line. If you look closely at some of the photos you’ll see the security bracelets which are honestly worth wearing again. There was also a strong Beverly Hills Police contingent outside on the street.
Inside, the boutique was packed as guests sipped on champagne, enjoyed blinis with caviar and had fun mingling throughout the evening. It was a happy, relaxed night. None of the typical posing and boredom. Honestly, you could feel the positive vibes and the sincere appreciation for the brilliance of the brand’s two creative designers, Chirui and Picciolo,who’ have infused a new, youthful vibrancy into the brand. It showed. Normally every celebrity is dressed in next season, but this time everyone was actually in Spring 2012! Don’t forget to look at all the great shoes in the photos. Platforms reigned! My favorites were the black and gold sequined Valentino sling-back. I wore nude-backed and black lace Valentino as well, that I am planning to wear over and over, and was convinced I’d see someone in the same dress but I didn’t happen. In fact, not a single guest was in a duplicate Valentino!
I have to admit, it’s a magnificent collection that showcases black and nude lace in innovative, figure flattering silhouettes and of course, signature Valentino red, in gorgeous cocktail dresses. My vote for best-dressed celeb of the evening is Abigail Spencer. We know each other and I didn’t hesitate to tell her how great she looked while we discussed all of her upcoming films and the movie script she is currently working on. Nothing is better than beauty combined with brains and Abigail personifies it. If you are wondering if Kim Kardashian thought about shying away from the Red Carpet a few days after her recent flour incident, no, she did not. She’s an old friend of mine and I’m not going to detail our conversation last night, but I must applaud her for her grace under pressure.
Finally, a few words about the the boutique. The new Beverly Hills Flagship is the first US Valentino store to feature a design concept which introduces a stunning multilevel, compartmentalized approach. Special touches include a black and white marble entrance, magnificent chandeliers and modern fixtures that create smart groupings by color and occasion. Of course, there is even a special hidden V.I.P. salon upstairs. For the event a special capsule collection was sent in featuring animal print coats, each one based on a vintage Valentino look, and every great piece in their current collection is on display. If you are in the neighborhood, the new boutique is located at 324 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
It was an exceptional evening that ended with a small private dinner for many of the guests. All I can say is…Grazia Mille Valentino!
NJ Goldston, The Brunette