I finally got to see the much-awaited Valentino documentary, which didn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s awesome. Funny, touching, and fascinating, the film opens with Valentino’s spring 06 collection, looks back on the Dolce Vita days and ends with his three day Roman blowout and retirement – a tragic end of an era (of couturiers that simply won’t exist again). It tells a story of a man who wants nothing more than to make women feel beautiful but who can’t, or won’t, find a way to fit into a changed industry.
At the centre is a love story: the fifty-year relationship between Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, his business partner, lover, best friend and confidante. The film manages to give us a sense of the unusual strength and courage these remarkable men needed to navigate the brutal world of ego and high finance – and to do so together. Their moments onscreen are touching, joyous and heartbreaking. Giancarlo says, “To be with Valentino as a friend, as a lover, as an employee – it’s all the same. You need a lot of patience.” And then he tells Valentino he’s too tan, which was hilarious. When Giancarlo asks Valentino why he’s using pink for his finale dresses instead of red, Valentino responds, disgusted, “Enough with the red! The red dresses are the most simple, the most stupid!” My favourite moment? When Karl Lagerfeld congratulated Valentino after his final couture show, “This is how it should be done. Compared to us, the rest are making rags!”
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