I went to a screening of Valentino The Last Emperor last September for the Toronto International Film Festival. When the movie finished, the crowd of about 1000 people gave the designer a 10-minute standing ovation. The day after, I interviewed Valentino, his partner Giancarlo and the film's director, Matt Tyrnauer who's also a writer for Vanity Fair.
It was probably the highlight of my career meeting one of fashion's most influential; picking his brain about retirement, how fashion has changed since he started and what it was like being filmed for two years; I was shaking from nervousness and excitement.
And for a bit of self-promotion, my Valentino article is in the current issue of Naked Eye magazine so pick one up today!
Cathy Horyn did a great interview with the director that I have to share.
Some great quotes:
That’s the thing, nobody ever sees the real Valentino. I told him before we started, “You’ve got to let loose a little bit and take a chance. Otherwise, you’ll seem over-privileged and unsympathetic and not human.” He didn’t want to hear it. He would listen to me for one second. I gave him the same talk, director to star, for a couple of years. You know, when Valentino and Giammetti first saw the movie they freaked out. They weren’t prepared. I had a contract that gave me final cut—a very hard-won contract. I wouldn’t have made the movie without it. I think it’s a warts-and-all portrait, but you see the warm soul of Valentino.
I think Valentino was ambivalent about retiring. One day he’d wake up and say, “Enough of this.” And then that evening he’d change his mind again. You know that he and Giammetti are Olympic mind-changers. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like. It can range from the type of pasta at lunch to a round-the-world trip that will be rescheduled minutes before takeoff.
We had to really plan and know what they were doing—and they don’t tell you what they’re doing. And when they know what they’re doing, they change their minds five minutes later. That was an enormous challenge. Then we’d get to Rome. I would go to see Giancarlo first in his office—that Italian dictator-size office—and he’d come in. They’re always trussed up in ties and perfectly fitted suits. I’d greet Giancarlo, and by this point he is someone I know extremely well. And he’d say, “Hello, my darling. So tell me what brings you to Rome?” Meanwhile there would be 15 metal cases in the hallway, a soundman, producers. Of course, Giancarlo knew what he was doing. I love the Italians more than any other people, but they have their ways. And both of them have the Italian terror of seeming overly eager. So we would have this minuet at the beginning of every shoot about the very fact of shooting. It was almost an existential thing.
The film is now opening in major cities in the U.S. such as New York, L.A., San Francisco and Chicago. To see more cities and show dates go here.
The PR company representing the film contacted me and wanted me to share with you guys that they have a huge announcement coming up so stay tuned!
I don't know whether it will be showing in Canada but if it does open here, I really insist that you go see it because it is a beautiful film.
Here are some pics of Valentino and Gwyneth Paltrow at the film's screening in NY.
Valentino: The man, the movie, the party
Valentino the interview: continued
Valentino The Last Emperor
More Valentino The Last Emperor