My friend Rio at Le Chic Batik let me borrow her DVD of Valentino: The Last Emperor. It's a supple documentary: both eye candy and some insight into the life of the haute couture icon on the eve of his retirement.
The film's director, Vanity Fair editor and writer Matt Tyrnauer, provides a considerable amount of access. Valentino Garavani's world is as grand and lavish as his name and brand. The doc is fairly glossy but there is some emotional resonance in the heated but loving relationship between Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti. His business partner for over half a century, Giancarlo illuminates the difficulties of staying afloat in a risky, ever changing business. In the lead-up to Valentino's grand retrospective, the film has quick visions of plenty of usual suspects (among them Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, and an amusing cameo from Joan Collins) but it's also about the grunt work: it's fascinating to watch the extraordinary skill of Valentino's seamstresses. At times, I wanted the camera to linger more on individual dresses.
In the bittersweet finale at the Temple of Venus in Rome, there is the sense that a grandiose touch will forever be absent in the fashion world. The documentary is a fitting tribute and celebration of the creative, prodigious mind who has delivered decades of dazzling work.
More great images here.