Film reveals the ups and downs of Valentino's love life

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

To those who can afford his designer creations, Valentino is a fashion deity: the last genuine haute couturier, whose classical garments have adorned and been adored by socialites and celebrities of the calibre of Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman.

The 76-year-old Italian fashion designer yesterday visited the Venice Film Festival to address fans and journalists at the premiere of a warts-and-all documentary about his life and career.

Valentino: The Last Emperor charts the designer's 50-year career and, in its most revealing moments, chronicles for the first time the peaks and troughs of his relationship with his long-term companion and business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Valentino was filmed crying and bickering with Mr Giammetti, who said the couple wished the arguments had been cut from the final reel: "There are many things in the movie both Valentino and I would prefer not to see in that situation but they were left in."

The designer, who walked up the red carpet with Eva Herzigova, added: "I wanted to show myself as I am. I couldn't care less about the camera."

Aside from the two men's occasional disagreements – including one in which they accuse each other of being fat – Mr Giammetti said the film was as much a documentary about fashion as it was "a story of love".

The picture was directed by Vanity Fair's special correspondent, Matt Tyrnauer. "When we screened all the raw footage before starting to edit," the auteur said, "we were pleased to find we had more than a fashion movie on our hands."

Born Valentino Garavani in Lombardy in 1932, he met Mr Giammetti in 1963 after returning to Italy from Paris. Since then, the two men have been nearly inseparable, spending only two months outside of each other's company in half a century.

Valentino: The Last Emperor received a standing ovation at yesterday's first screening from a crowd of high-profile models and Hollywood stars who were said to have flown to Venice in his honour. Speaking to fans and journalists afterwards, Valentino said that if he had to choose one crowning moment from five decades of dressing the world's most glamorous women, there was one clear winner: the sight of Julia Roberts in a vintage black and white Valentino gown as she made her tearful 2001 Oscar winning speech for the film Erin Brockovich.

"If I have to try to remember the number of actresses, it would be a very long list," Valentino said. "I have to be very sincere. The person that made me very, very happy, also because she choose vintage, was Julia Roberts, when she got the Academy Award... I was very excited to see her when she appeared with my dress."

Billed as an insight into a world of bygone glamour, the film traces his rise from a teenage apprenticeship in Paris to a run a billion-dollar empire which affords him an imperial lifestyle, pampering his six pet pug dogs (they have their teeth brushed to maintain standards) and throwing celebrity parties at his chateaux and on his staggering yachts.

The film, which was shot over two years, also reveals his behind-the-scenes tantrums and the open hostility between him and the profit-conscious business managers at the fashion house which bears his name. There are hints that it could have been this tension that led Valentino to announce his retirement in 2007 – to the dismay of the fashion industry and only two months after a lavish event in Rome celebrated his contribution to the industry over the decades.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'