Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)
A look at the life of legendary fashion designer Valentino.
A story of friendship, a retrospective, and a look at haute couture as business: we watch Valentino Garavani (1932- ) and partner Giancarlo Giammetti from preparation for the 2006 Spring/Summer Collection in Paris to a July 2007 retrospective of Valentino's 45-year career, which included dressing Jacqueline Kennedy. The film documents a year of work, shows, business changes, and decisions. We follow a creation from sketch to runway: he's always in pursuit of beauty. We're in Paris, Rome, and Venice. He receives the French Legion of Honor medal; his acceptance speech brings tears. Reporters ask when he'll retire. Is the Roman retrospective his career's finale? Cue Puccini.
- Valentino: The Last Emperor, produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, is an intimate and engaging fly-on-the-wall exploration of the singular world of one of Italy's most famous men. The film documents the colorful and dramatic closing act of Valentino's celebrated career, tells the story of his extraordinary life, and explores the larger themes affecting the fashion business today. At the heart of the film is the unique relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.
In production from June 2005 to July 2007, the filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive, unprecedented access to Valentino and his entourage. We were let in to the inner circle, but we had to stick it out for a long time, practically move in, to capture the truly great moments, says Tyrnauer. Valentino is surrounded by a tight-knit family of friends and employees, but, eventually, their guard came down and they forgot there was a camera crew in the room.
Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling, says Tyrnauer. He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process, adds Tyrnauer. He lives as lavishly as his clients and set a standard for the industry. He shuts out all that is not beautiful, and we followed him around the world to capture that special world.
Valentino: The Last Emperor is much more than a fashion movie. It is a portrait of an extraordinary partnership, the longest-running in fashion, and a dramatic story about a master confronting the final act of his celebrated career. It will be a film and fashion worldwide event marking the end of an era. Shot in widescreen high-definition, Valentino: The Last Emperor will premiere at film festivals beginning in August 2008, with gala premiere parties and special events planned around the world.