Friday, May 15, 2009

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Bethesda is in the throes of fashion mayhem with a Thursday kickoff on Bethesda Row and a relaxing end to the day at Landmark Cinema with the fabulous new documentary on Valentino. “Compared to us, everyone else is making rags,” Lagerfeld whispers to Valentino at his 45th anniversary retrospective show as Valentino tears up in Matt Tyrnauer’s Valentino: The Last Emperor, a 96-minute indulgence into the world of Valentino Garavani and longtime partner Giancarlo Giammetti. Through scenes like that between Valentino and Lagerfeld as well as the personal moments between Valentino and Giancarlo we get a glimpse into the rarified world of high fashion in all its absurd splendor: their homes, vanity, passion and the difficult nature of the designer himself. Though Tyrnauer doesn't bow in homage, he very touchingly and perceptively portrays the connection and humor inherent “in two people whose lives are absurd but they don’t know they’re absurd.” Absurd maybe, but I have to commend two people who can stay together for 50 years as well as create the fashion icon that is Valentino. I also commend Tyrnauer for the tenacity to pull this project off. Though he's written about Valentino for Vanity Fair, and was thus inspired to make the film, I still had to ask him, "How does one approach an icon?" He said because he did not aspire to their life, he wasn't intimidated by it. All the better for us. The film will be coming to D.C. soon. Three words: Go See It.

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