Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Allison, John, and I ran to Film Forum in the pouring rain on Movie Monday to catch the limited released documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. It was another one of those films that generated applause at its closing and the three of us adored it.

We expected a film about fashion, but we got was a film about a man. A wonderful man! A lovely, stubborn, and important man. A man who cares about beauty above all else and has no idea the work behind the industry that he leads. An interesting man.

Valentino stepped into the world of fashion in the fifties when Rome and Paris still utilized those long avenues for prancing about in big hats and diamonds and evening wear. Remember that episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel are in Paris (the European episodes were the best, weren't they?) and they make dresses out of trash bags and try to pull it off as high fashion? It was like that. The days where you could really sit in a cafe and see somewhat of a fashion show walking by... the days of the promenade, I suppose.

Valentino, however, never really left that world. The rest of us did (have you been to Fifth Avenue lately? The Champs Elysees? The Gap, Abercrombie, H&M, Ann Taylor!? They are promenades no more, people.) but Valentino was able to shield himself from seeing it change... he lives in an absolute fantasy and everyone knows it but him.

Giancarlo Giametti aids in this cause, as Valentino's longtime business partner, lover, and friend. The two of them are spectacular together and work brilliantly as an on screen duo. The best parts of film involve thier little interactions, the MOST brilliant being the topic of Valentino's tan.

V: How did i do?

G: Famously. It was perfect.

V: No, really, how did I do? Do I look okay?

G: Yes, everything was just fabulous.

V: Giametti, tell me, did I look okay?!

G: You are too tan.

V: No. No, no, no. Not too tan.

And lets all remember that Valentino looks like this. Too good.

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