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An Ode to an Emperor

September 8, 2009 - 5:51 pm

Where would the red carpet be–and fashion for that matter–without Valentino Garavani?

Need we answer?
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We all remember when Julia Roberts wore an elegant black-and-white vintage Valentino dress when she accepted the Oscar for best actress in 2001 film “Erin Brockovich.”

And Valentino‘s imprint on the industry didn’t begin or end there.

Aside from paving the way for several other haute couture names, Valentino has captured the hearts and closets of celebrity A-listers and civilian fashion followers alike including Jackie O (it will also forever be on my own personal wish-list until–gasp–I wear Valentino).

The 2008 documentary Valentino The Last Emperor, hits DVD shelves today and offers an inside look at the man behind the eponymous label that changed the face of haute couture as we know it. Valentino Garavani founded his bespoke dress label in Rome more than 45 years ago along with longtime business partner and off-and-on lover, Giancarlo Giammetti.

The 96-minute documentary has been the official selection at the Chicago, Venice and Toronto international film festivals. Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Valentino The Last Emperor follows the ingenious, eccentric, hard-headed, dog-loving (he has six pugs) couturier we know and love, thread by thread. It also lets viewers in on the harrowing business deals, corporate buyouts and creative control surrounding the Valentino label, before and after Garavani exited the company in 2008. A truly emotional end to an era.

I previewed the doc last March at a special screening during Fall-Winter 2009 LG Fashion Week in Toronto. This film is brilliantly produced and had several of us sobbing in our seats. This time, I’m watching the DVD copy tonight, with a box of tissue and a lot of Italian-inspired carbs.

Look out for special appearances by several notable fashion names: Donatella Versace, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley and Canada’s own Jeanne Beker



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