New film honors Valentino, "last king of fashion"

Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:54pm EDT
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By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - Eight months after tearfully bowing out of fashion, Valentino returned to the red carpet with a film celebrating the man who dressed some of the world's greatest beauties from Jackie Kennedy to Princess Diana.

"Valentino: The Last Emperor" is an intimate, fly-on-the-wall look at Valentino's last two years at the helm of the fashion house he created in the 1960s, becoming a by-word for haute couture glamour over nearly half a century.

"I know what women want, they want to be beautiful," the Italian designer says at one stage in the film.

"That was always the thing for me, to design and create dresses. I am not capable of doing anything else," he adds.

The documentary follows Valentino from June 2005 to July 2007, when he held three days of lavish celebrations in Rome for the 45th anniversary of his fashion group.

He retired in January 2008 after his last fashion show in Paris, the culmination of months of speculation about his future as private equity firm Permira gradually took over his empire.

"Valentino" takes the viewer inside the studio where he created his dresses, backstage at the Paris fashion shows where socialites queued up to see his collections, and in villas around the world where he threw parties for royalties and stars.

It also captures the intense relationship between the designer and Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's business partner and companion for 50 years whose acumen was as crucial to the group's success as Valentino's creative talent.   Continued...

<p>Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani waves as he arrives for the Premiere of the movie "Valentino : The Last Emperor" by U.S. director Matt Tyrnauer in Venice August 28, 2008.. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>