I have always been a sucker for classic... timeless... breathtaking fashion. So when I learned of the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. I knew I would be there to have a front row seat to a documentary about a fashion titan's love of 'making women beautiful'.
The 90 minute film documents the very dramatic closing act of Valentino's celebrated 45 year career in fashion while exploring the larger themes affecting the current state of the fashion business today. But much to my surprise this film is much more than a fashion show of haute couture. But the heart of the film to me was the fly on the wall look at the unique relationship between Valentino and Gincarlo Giammetti, his business partner and companion since the start of his career. Giammetti remarks in the film, "To be with Valentino as a lover... as a friend... as an employee is all the same, you just need a lot of patience." While the two have never married, watching their relationship over the 2 years the film was shot shows you that it defies the need for what so many in this country are fighting for and against. Definitely an atypical loves story, the film shows a 50 year gay relationship changing fashion along the way.
The feature film also explores how the business world is affecting fashion. It is remarked in the film that the investors that now own most fashion houses are more interested in belts, perfume and other lucrative accessories than the actual clothes of the line. At the end of the film... I was left hoping and wondering how long would it be before investors like Primera would destroy such a name and legacy much like Pierre Cardin. The intimate scene between Valentino and Karl Lagerfield is priceless... as you see two titans of fashion come to grips that an era is ending.
The movie is not just a little fashion film or a collection of runway shows and model interviews, it is an in-depth movie exploring a meaningful relationship between two partners and a business... definitely a must see.