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Movie Review: Valentino: The Last Emperor

August 14, 2009

Rating 3.5/5 stars

With the recent weather we have been having in Toronto, one is in constant pursuit of new indoor interests.  As it was, I recently found myself in search of such an activity.  Having had my fill of the summer blockbusters, I opted to take in Valentino: The Last Emperor.

Valentino Garavani at his 45th anniversary celebration

Valentino Garavani at his 45th anniversary celebration

The movie offers a glimpse into the life of fashion designer Valentino Garavani.  Director Matt Tyrnauer and crew followed Valentino for two years, giving the viewer a chance to understand what lies behind the curtain of haute couture.  For those, like myself, who live and breathe fashion the film allows us to enter into conversations we’ve only dreamed of hearing.  I loved watching the candid repartee between Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld.  There is a particularly moving scene shared between Giorgio Armani and Valentino.  It was hard not to be amazed by watching these men interact, men who have shaped the way women have dressed for the last forty years.  The film also appeases our need for indulgence into tabloid tidbits.  Anyone who is anyone of interest in women’s wear makes an appearance in the film.  Whether it’s Daphne Guinness sitting front row center to see Valentino’s collection, or Anna Wintour dining at his country house, we’re shown a sui generis lifestyle.

Although a definite treat for the fashion enthusiast, this film is not solely for those in the fashion know.  Tyrnauer made the focus of the film the story of Valentino and his relationships with the people around him.  The story is moving, both dramatically and humorously.  With a running time of 1hr 36mins, it’s the best dressed hour and half you will spend and a perfect escape from the rainy summer. Valentino: The Last Emperor is now playing across North America. http://www.valentinomovie.com/

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