Valentino Opens Up3 Aug, 2009 By: Billy Gil
International fashion icon Valentino is synonymous with haute couture, his work having adorned the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. But the man behind the fashion line, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, was lesser known to the outside world, his relationship with partner Giancarlo Giammetti having been hidden from most people until recently.
Vanity Fair writer Matt Tyrnauer exposed the world of Valentino and his relationship with Giametti in a 2004 piece for the magazine, which evolved into Tyrnauer’s first film, the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor, which streets Sept. 8 (prebook Aug. 11) from Phase 4 Films.
“Many people who thought they knew Valentino discovered the human face behind the icon in this film,” Tyrnauer explains.
Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, adds: “At its heart, this film is about the personal and professional relationship of two men who built an empire together for over four decades.”
Of the substantial acclaim the film has received, perhaps none is more valid than from Valentino himself, who said the film changed his outlook on his own life.
“I was shocked because I felt that my privacy that I defended so strongly all my life could be violated in such a candid way,” Valentino said of seeing the film for the first time. “When the audience gave such a huge response to the movie, I then felt that maybe I have been too reserved all my life and that my work alone was not enough without the human being behind it.”
The film also includes appearances by Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeanne Beker, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer, Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Karl Lagerfeld. The $29.99 DVD and $34.99 Blu-ray include 46 minutes of special features, including a Gosford Park-style featurette that goes between Valentino’s guests and his servants as he prepares an extravagant party at his Chateau Wideville in France, and another featurette on the making-of the red dress featured in the film.
“I believe these moments are the most important of the movie because they really show the work behind a creation,” Valentino said of the special features. “The dramas and the doubts — it’s the part I always liked the most.”
Valentino is no stranger to film and home video: He had a cameo in The Devil Wears Prada (on DVD and Blu-ray from Fox) and was the subject of the disc’s special feature “Getting Valentino,” in which he was interviewed. And the designer, still going strong at 77, said he is open to appearing in future films.
“Maybe next time not portraying myself,” he said.