Director Matt Tyrnauer extended his 2004 article for Vanity Fair into a feature length documentary about the 45-year career of Valentino Garavani, the world's most celebrated fashion designer who, assisted by his long-time business partner and lover, Giancarlo Giammetti, provided finery for the world's richest and most celebrated women, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Gwyneth Paltrow and a roster of others. At age 75, Valentino gave unprecedented access to Tyrnauer, who documented the development of Valentino's final collection and a lavish party to mark the designer's 45th anniversary.
La Dolce Vita Comes To Life
Sprinkling his film with clips from Fellini's La Dolce Vita
and archival footage of famous ladies wearing Valentino gowns in lavish surroundings, Matt Tyrnauer presents a profile of a man obsessed with and surrounded by glamour and luxury. Valentino's villa, offices and private airplane reflect his personal taste and the riches of his billion-dollar fashion empire. Ruling his roost with absolute and imperious authority, he purses his lips as he orders alterations and refuses to compromise on details. Immaculately groomed and always accompanied by his five perfectly groomed pugs, he charms the press, poses for paparazzi and welcomes the adulation of his adoring fans, including fashionistas Anna Wintour (subject of her own 2009 documentary The September Issue
) and Andre Leon Tally.
The film is certainly an impressive display, a fascinating and credible direct cinema account of a lifestyle and concerns that seem completely out of touch with the troubled world covered by many other direct cinema documentaries that reveal situations in which human lives and welfare are at stake. In the end, Valentino The Last Emperor concludes with the designer's retirement from the world of fashion, as his empire is acquired for more than a billion dollars by a large fashion conglomerate that will undoubtedly modernize the brand and take it in a new direction. The moment marks a shift in style that will effect fashion consumers -- big spenders, especially -- but not influence the lives of those who are not enjoying La Dolce Vita.
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- Title: Valentino: The Last Emperor
- Director: Matt Tyrnauer
- Release Date: March 18, 2009 (limited theatrical)
- Running Time: 96 mins.
- MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some nudity and language
- Parents Advisory: strong language
- Locations: Rome, Paris, Milan, Venice
- Language: English and Italian and French with English subtitles
- Production Company: Acolyte Films
- Distribution: Truly Indie and Vitagraph Films