Film: Valentino: The Last Emperor
In brief: As the film opens, we’re watching another fabulous Valentino haute couture collection coming down the runway. But the real buzz is about how much longer Valentino will continue designing. We’re very much aware that we’re witnessing the end of an era. Valentino credits his long success to knowing what women want… “They want to be beautiful.” And Valentino wants to surround himself with beauty. This documentary filmed between 2005 and 2007 gives us a chance to follow along.
We see Valentino creating a dress, first with pencil on paper and then with fabric on a woman. The large Valentino Fashion Group employees many seamstresses but has no sewing machines. (Actually, they had a sewing machine once, but no one ever used it.) Everything is made totally by hand. As the collection takes shape, we notice that behind the scenes is Valentino’s long-time partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, who handles all the aspects that Valentino isn’t concerned about, making it possible for “Valentino to be Valentino.” It’s a partnership that has kept the Valentino business going for almost 50 years. Among other things, Giancarlo now has to deal with the new owners, who are increasing their influence over the business… and over the designs.
As with most successful creative businesses, the new owners think they can do things better… take away the idiosyncrasies of the creative genius at the center of the business and run things smarter. Only time will tell if the Valentino name continues to mean what it’s meant for half a century, but the signs aren’t good. This is truly a film for our times… a detailed look at how MBAs get ready to turn a silk purse into sow’s ears… a painfully familiar story. Fortunately the film shows us more of why Valentino has been successful for so long, and that’s truly glorious to watch.
3 popped kernels
Popped kernels for beautiful fashions and an interesting story.