Valentino: The Last Emperor

Valentino: The Last Emperor

In Theatres: 
Mar 18, 2009
Running Time: 
96 Minutes

Valentino Garavani was the fashionable genius behind the Valentino empire clothing the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy to name only a couple. Along with his friend and confidant Giancarlo Giammetti the two would help establish Valentino as the artist in haute couture and carry the Valentino legacy across decades staying current in the ever changing fashion industry.

Valentino: The Last Emperor is an interesting title for this film. As a documentary the focus shifts considerably from person to person giving the viewer the impression of Valentino as overdramatic, powerful, vulnerable, stubborn, and sometimes unintentionally cruel. So much character is hung on the person of Valentino Garavani in this film that you slowly begin to understand, you start to see the trickle down effect of his genius in both fashion as well as politics and how in fact he literally is an Emperor and his kingdom consists of seamstresses, models, company men, even celebrities.

Just when you think you understand some of that focus turns to Giammetti and you see him as this background character; walked on, sometimes devious, but loyal. In a way this a failure on the part of Matt Tyrnauer, director and producer of the film, but then again it keeps the documentary fresh, especially for a viewer like myself who knows nothing of the fashion industry. Its difficult to really grasp the film with the focus being drawn in separate directions and even harder because the film is subtitled and you need to devote some of your time and energy to reading but in the end you don’t really gain an understanding of the industry but rather the man. Despite his flaws and overzealous nature his image in the film is uncorrupted by the business and you see him as someone who simply loves beautiful things. While Tyrnauer is all over the map in the film he does manage to capture Valentino, sometimes, in a certain level of pure light.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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