Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future An Exhibit Evaluation Report V By : Siti Aisyah Bagarib ID : 20910329 Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future COMM3319 – Science Communication Special Topics UWA 14th Feb 2011
Executive Summary Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future exhibition pays tribute to a Valentino Garavani,man who has been placed in the history of haute couture as an undeniable ambassador of elegancefor the past 50 years. Valentinos gowns are widely identified as timeless and glamorous works ofart. Visitors will be able to see 100 gowns on display that were once worn by celebrities, royaltiesand socialites such as Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassisand Elizabeth Taylor among many others. The exhibition is held at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore for the first time in Asia and I will beevaluating the effectiveness of the middle exhibit of the exhibition for my schools ExhibitConsultation assignment. The exhibit is evaluated according to the following criteria: how effective it was in attractingtarget audience, location of the exhibit, the content, aesthetics and emotional response of the visitor. Overall, the middle exhibit of Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future is a successful andaffective one but some recommendations were made at the end of this report that would improve thequality and visitor experience to the exhibit.
IntroductionValentino Garavani Illustration 1: Valentino Garavani On may 11th 1932, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was born to Mauro Garavani andTeresa de Biaggi. He was first hired by Greek vouturier Jean Desses and then for Guy Laroche 5years later. In July 1962, Valentino shows his collection for the first time and continued doing so for50 years, having designed for royalties, Olympics, celebrities. Illustration 2: the signature bright shade of red that has become known as Valentino Red in the fashion industry. (Fall/Winter Collection 2009)
The Haute Couture line was introduced in Paris in 1989. Valentino Garavani has forged a placefor himself in the history of haute couture as the undisputed ambassador of elegance. Valentino’sstyle is based on sober yet sophisticated shapes and his pieces are constructed to give fluidity,femininity and sensuality. His cuts are graphic, his fabrics sumptuous, and his collections alwaysinclude a vast colour range embellished with elegant embroidery. Valentino’s work combinesromanticism, modernity and classicism. Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is madeto order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewnwith extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses,often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. (Shaeffer, C., 2001) Valentino announced his retirement in 2007 and held his last fashion show in 2008. He appointedMaria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli as Creative Directors for Valentino.
Overview Illustration 3: Outside Entrance Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future is an exhibition showcasing original gowns byValentino Garavani and the seven-week long show is being held at Resorts World SentosaConvention Centre. This area is saturated with attractions and retail outlets. A Universal StudiosThemepark and a Casino is also located here. Resorts World Sentosa is constantly packed withcrowds of locals and foreigners of all ages. The showcase is in Asia for the very first time. The exhibition occupied a large floor-space and itis divided into 5 areas. I will be evaluating the middle exhibit area of the exhibition, which is the
first thing visitors see when they walk through the entrance right after purchasing admission tickets.This area of the exhibition is the most spacious. Exhibit Area Illustration 5: View visitors see right after walking through the entrance Illustration 4: Layout Floor Plan of Middle Exhibit
Methodology The goal of this consultancy was to determine the effectiveness of the Valentino, Retrospective:Past/Present/Future exhibit and recommend possible improvements that could be made. I visitedthe exhibition twice during the month of February 2011, once on a Public Holiday weekend andonce more on the last weekend of the exhibition. On both occasions, an average of 2 hours in thelate afternoon was spent inside the exhibit observing effectiveness and visitor interactions and usingqualitative methodologies to arrive to my conclusions. The summative evaluations that are made later in this report will be based upon criterion that Ihave considered to be important for an art/museum type exhibition. Evaluations will be madeaccording to how it fares with target audience, visitor experience, effectiveness of the location,effectiveness of displays and labels etc.Evaluative Criteria 1. Reaching Target Audience: Exhibit should attract the intended target audience. The types of visitors and overall motivation of visiting. 2. Location: Accessibility, surrounding ammenities 3. Content: Relevance and amount of information provided 4. Aesthetics: Exhibit layout, displays, labels, panels, interior design 5. Emotional Response: Visitor attention, reactions, psychological state
Evaluative Criteria1) Reaching Target Audience The main objective of the Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future is to display dress collections, promote appreciation, inspire creativity and support art and design education. Although there is a certain sense of elitism that comes with designer labels, these works of art are now available for appreciation by the general public. The target audience here would mainly be adult females between the ages of 23 to 45 and anyone working or studying in the media, design or fashion industries. Admission tickets are attractive and reasonably priced to attract visitors. Priced at $12 for a standard adult ticket, various discount rates and free admission for children under the age of 4 were also available. From my observations, the exhibit has managed to attract its target market and an even wider range of audience. There were a lot of males present at the exhibit who were just curious and appreciated a good dress. Quite a percentage of the visitors were also children who came with their guardians but enjoyed the exhibit nonetheless.
Types of visitorsMost of the visitors were strollers, slowly walking through the exhibit to look at the displays,pausing just long enough to snap a picture and occasionally stopping to read a thing or two. Visitorswere generally only interested in the visual details of the outfits and very few were interested inreading the label descriptions.The exhibition is designed to accommodate those who wish to skim as well as those who wish totake more time. The exhibit area is spacious and the dressed were enclose in clear, life-sized glasscasings which made it possible of the displayed items to be observed from different angles.
2) LocationVenue chosen to hold the exhibit was appropriate with the overall theme and targeted audience.Resorts World added a crafted visitor experience as the surrounding areas tie in the sense of high-end living what with the Casino just located opposite etc. (Weaver, S. 2007) Venue is also easilyaccessible from the Waterfront Tram service located only 3 minutes away and it is also withinwalking distance to mainland Singapore. Illustration 6: Resorts World Convention CenterThe floor space for the middle exhibit was the biggest and most spacious among the exhibits. Sincethe middle exhibit area is right at the entrance, it was crucial that it made a good first impression tothose who just stepped in through the doors. It was a good decision to place the more popular andiconic dresses in this exhibit as visitors could quickly recognize them and not feel too intimidatedand out of place (established personal connection and meaning)
3) Content It is not only important to have the right amount of content, but also the right mode of presentation for those information. The medium of an exhibition both commands and is commanded by a host of other media: exhibition space architecture, explanatory wall labels, lighting, wall colour, exhibition catalogues and the art of artifacts themselves. As such, exhibitions form a “strategic system of representations” that mold the cultural meanings and receptions of the display (Bruce W. Ferguson, "Exhibition Rhetorics," in Thinking about Exhibition, ed. Reesa Greenberg, Sandy Nairne, and Bruce W. Ferguson (New York: Routledge, 1996), 178. ) Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future pays tribute to the artwork of a man who has been one of the leading faces in the fashion world. The presentation used has to be appropriate to the exhibition’s goals, content, and intended audiences. Main content in the exhibit available for visitors were the dresses on display. There werent much information about how the dresses were made. There were 3 wall panels in the exhibit and they were about the designer Valentino Garavani and quotes on his achievements. Illustration 8: Description labelIllustration 7: One of the panels in the exhibit Explanation labels were concise and not too wordy. It basically states which collection the item was from, the model number (for reference from the Valentino book available), the main materials used and sometimes who the dress was made for.
The displays were designed and installed for easy viewing. Some of the more intricately madedresses were even displayed so the audience gets a 360 degree view. Illustration 9: One of the dress what was on display for 360 degree viewThe audience is constantly reminded of the theme and main objective of the exhibit.Valentinosimage is placed throughout the exhibit.
4) Aesthetics and Production Exhibit is a fashion exhibit, and along with the label Valentino comes an expectation of glamour and sophistication. That theme has been carried out throughout this exhibit very well. Design elements like colour schemes and exhibit decoration contribute to and support the exhibits main ideas and tone. From the moment the visitor steps in the through the entrance, they are greeted by the view of a magnificent chandelier, high ceilings, and mannequins in different poses showcasing the dresses. The exhibit hall was dimly lit for conservation purposes to preserve the designs.Illustration 11: Figure 1 Illustration 10: Figure 2 Figure 1 shows the design on one of Valentinos creation being carried through to the decoration of the walls in the exhibit.
5) Emotional ResponseEmotional response of the audience is another important factor in assessing the effectiveness of anexhibit. Did audience react positively to the experience? Were they awed or intimidated?The general response to this exhibit was awe and inspiration. Almost all the visitors took photos ofthe items on display.
ConclusionOverall, the middle exhibit in Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future is considered asuccessful and effective one. The exhibit started off grabbing the attention of its audiences with itsclever use of space and decor. Content was engaging and placed for easy viewing and the dresseswere displayed through attractive presentation using mannequins and lighting was used to makethem come alive. The exhibit was easy to navigate and the area wasnt cluttered with unnecessarynoise. Labels and panels were short and concise and the theme of the exhibit was clear and constantthroughout the visitor experience.From my interview with the exhibit staff, the exhibit saw and average of 500 visitors on a weekendand around 100-200 visitors on a weekday. The number of visitors went up to over 1000 during thelast weekend that Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future was held.Some improvements can still be made to better the standard and effectiveness of the exhibit orfuture similar exhibits like this.
RecommendationsHere are some constructive suggestions that can be considered to improve the exhibit. 1. LightingThe items on display were exquisite but some of them were not adequately lit for audiences to fullyappreciate the fine details of the dresses. More attention needs to paid towards spotlight placements. 2. LabelsThe description labels were printed in tiny fonts and were placed very low. Visitors had to bendforward to make out what it said. The situation is made worse by the poor lighting. Again, moreattention has to be paid to placement of the lighting. 3. Interactive MediaI found that the exhibit was too stagnant. Pair this with the huge space and lack of visitors, and dimlighting, the exhibit might appear lifeless. Some interactive media like LCD TV panels playingrunway shows could be installed to add more life and content to the space. 4. ComfortIt is also important to take into account how comfortable visitors are while viewing the exhibit.When the audience is relaxed, they are more open to gaining new experiences. There were noseating areas available in the exhibit and maybe some benches could be installed where appropriate.Taking into consideration the suggestions that have been mentioned will hopefully provide thevisitors with a more positive experience.
References 1. Assessing Excellence in Exhibitions from a Visitor-Centered Perspective - http://www.exhibitfiles.org/dfile2/ReviewWalkthrough/481/original/Framework1.pdf 2. Resorts World Sentosa - http://www.rwsentosa.com/language/en- US/EntertainmentNightlife/ShowsEvents/ValentinoRetrospective 3. "Fashion legend Valentino retires". BBC News. 4 September 2007 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6978661.stm 4. Ticket discounts - https://reservations.rwsentosa.com/Itinerary/STShowInformation.aspx? Event=4&Venue=Resorts%20World%20Convention%20Centre%C2%99,%20Level%20B1 5. Museum Planning - http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/exhibition.htm 6. Weaver, Stephanie.2007. The bear on the bicycle: the visitor experience defined. In: Creating Great Visitor Experiences: A Guide for Museums, Parks, Zoos. Gardens, & Libraries. Left Coast Press. Walnut Creek, Calif.,USA.pp 18. 7.