Many a times in life, we don't have that many opportunities to see a great exhibition as most are often housed overseas.

As a style coach, fashion has invariably become part and parcel of my life. When I shop, I don't just buy the item based on the price. I have also come to appreciate the fabric, cut and creative design genius behind  the end product.


So when I learnt that Resorts World Singapore was playing host to the inaugural Asian exhibition  of “Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future”, it was simply too good an opportunity to pass over. As the only stop in Asia, the Valentino exhibition features 100 haute couture looks from founder Valentino Garavani’s early designs starting from the first collection designed in 1959 to present-day creations by current Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli (who worked alongside Mr Garavani for a decade before their appointment) from the Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 collection.

My love with Valentino started after my college days when I bought my very first pair of Valentino jeans. What I particularly like about Valentino is the timelessness of his designs, the elegant line, classic form and opulent details. I
t is like walking through the annals of of time and watching each gown in its final fruition. Seeing all 100 haute couture designs in the flesh is the icing on the cake! What's more, one could learn about the concept behind each design, Valentino's intricate techniques and of course the embellishments used to make each gown different from another.

Particular 'themes and variations' are explored that unite Valentino's design approach across more than five decades: these include the recurrence of geometric patterns and graphic prints, the skilful use of fabric to create dramatic silhouettes, and of course the distinctive palette of black, white and 'Valentino red'. I for one particularly liked the Valentino Red collection.

Behind the beauty of all the gowns lies a genius in designer Valentino Garavani

The Valentino Red collection

Valentino gowns in black

Needless to say, I saw sophisticated designs including those worn by Hollywood celebrities and members of high society around the world, such as Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman,  Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Liu, Elizabeth Taylor,
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Kim Cattrall.

When the Italian fashion house comes to town, just be prepared to be awed by the glamorous gowns!

Here are some of my personal favourites. Enjoy!!

Valentino Cocktail Dress Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1959

Valentino Evening Ensemble Haute Couture Summer 1967

Valentino Evening Ensemble Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1969

Valentino Evening Gown Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1990

Valentino Evening Ensemble Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1990–91

Valentino Evening Gown Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1993

Best Actress Julia Roberts chose this vintage Valentino Evening Gown
Haute Couture Fall-Winter 1992-93
for her win at the 73rd Academy
Awards in 2001

Valentino Strapless Evening Dress Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2003

Valentino Evening Gown Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2005-6

Valentino Evening Dress Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2007-08

Valentino Evening Dress Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2008

Valentino Evening Suit Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2008

Valentino Evening Dress Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2009-10

How quickly time passes by...It was only Christmas some weeks back, followed by New Year 2011, then the recent Chinese New Year...And guess what? We are now going to celebrate Valentine's Day in just a few days' time!

Do you remember how you celebrated Valentine's Day last year? You probably had a sumptuous meal at a restaurant and bought each other presents...and possibly renewed your love vows.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day where love is in the air, here's to show I love all my readers too by spreading my love in the form of knowledge to all of you. Whether or not you will be spending Valentine's Day with your significant other or with close friends, just be mindful of that this piece is for you. Yes, it's my pre V-Day present to everyone! Here comes the Valentine's Day dinner eating our survival guide. Read on and help to spread the love :)


It's Valentine's Day! And whether you know it or not subconsciously, it's a day worth celebrating with your loved one. You may be saying to yourself that if you’re going to spend all that money on dinner, get dressed up a little, and dine out, you want to get your money’s worth. Well, at least the majority of us think this way as we all want to stretch our dollar!

Yet pause for a second and think probably will be in a more joyous mood to enjoy the moment if you focus your thoughts on enjoying the
ambiance (with the candle on the table complete with some red roses and a violinist serenading you), the amorous company, the luxury of being served and poring over the special Valentine's Day dinner set choices.

If you can think of these perks, then you will not be tempted to try to get the biggest steak, even if it's cheaper than the smaller salmon. Remember, regardless of what programme you are now - weight loss or muscle building, the aim is to be the same. You need to be consistent in your meals and not use Valentine's Day as an excuse to binge or go off-tangent.

Here's 6 of my Valentine's Day dinner eating our survival tips to keep the calories low on the special day.

Tip 1: Do Not Upsize It

Some restaurants will attempt to milk more money out of you by asking you to top up your order to that of a set meal by throwing in starters, drinks and even desserts. STOP!

If you've been to that restaurant before and you know how big the portions are (some Western restaurants have not acclimatised their dishes to the Asian food palette and still serve huge portions of food), ask the service staff to half the potatoes or rice. 

Tip 2: Ask And It Shall Be Given

I'm sure most of you have heard of this saying "knock and the door will be opened, ask and you shall be given."

It's not that you are being thick-skinned by asking for more. On the contrary, almost all restaurants will be more than happy to give you extra vegetables instead of side dishes like potatoes and rice. So do not be shy...Just ask!


Tip 3: Start Off Your Drink With A Glass Of Water

I know there's reason for celebrating as it's Valentine's Day after all. But for you to avoid the pressure of having alcoholic beverages and other caloric drinks, mentally programme yourself that you will start with a glass of water.

If you start by ordering a glass of water (it's free anyway in most restaurants...unless those which serve you Evian water of course), the perception that you have given the sales staff is that there's still a high chance they can upsell you on a more expensive drink later. 

But what happens if you have started drinking the water while waiting for your food to arrive? You would have filled yourself up, leaving your tummy no more space for that alcoholic drink.

Tip 4: Share Your Food

Just like what we share our love and shower concern on each other, it makes perfect sense to share your food too. Two people can share an appetizer and a main course (or even just a main course). This way both of you can have a couple different things without breaking the calorie budget (and the wallet budget!). Nowadays just about any entrée in most estaurants is usually more than enough food for two people anyway; restaurants just tend to over serve to satisfy their customers.

Tip 5: Don't Drink Your Calories

Five hundred calories of juice can go down in seconds without filling you up at all. Now that's an awful waste. Wouldn't you rather have a juicy piece of meat or a huge salad?

Drinking calories will never satisfy hunger but it sure will put the breaks on your weight loss progress. If you really need to have something to drink that has some taste or flavour to it, try to keep it to diet drinks, or coffee’s and tea’s with minimal milk, creamer or sugar.

Tip 6: Drink A Wine Instead

When other people are indulging in very high calorie sinful dessert you can skip the dessert and instead opt for a glass of wine or another drink. In this way, you won't get pressured into having a 700 calorie dessert, but instead you can get away with 200 calories or so with a glass of wine. Another plus point is that it’s more socially acceptable to leave behind a few sips of wine compared to a few bites of dessert! Remember, first impressions matter!

Happy Valentine's :)


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