And get this: I was cracking up non-stop. I mean, I knew the film would be charming, but…all I can say is that Karl Lagerfeld is my new favorite comedian, for REAL. I mean…the man is…he’s just…oh-mazing. Not to say that Valentino isn’t hysterical by himself—because he is. In fact, he sort of reminds me of my own 4-foot-eleven-particular-to-the-point-of-infuriation-Italian grandmother (God rest her blessed heart) in many ways. By far my favorite scene in the film is where we see Karl take buddy V to the side after his awe-inspiring retrospective, and purrs, “Compared to us, the rest are making rags.” INCREDIBLE. What is it about the mere utterance of the word “rags” from Lagerfeld’s bodacious lips that makes me want to slap my knee in ecstasy?! I think I have problems.
Generally speaking, the film was solid. I would recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in fashion, of course, but also to anyone who wants an endearing look at a seemingly untouchable fashion powerhouse. The doc really is cute, and I sort of hate that word as an adjective, in theory, but it really is…cute! And when I think of a come-hither Valentino masterpiece gown, “cute” is the last word on my mind. Maybe that’s why I liked the film so much? Valentino is exactly what you’d expect him to be (bossy, narcissistic, impossible…), yet he also takes you by surprise in this doc…in many ways. I think I also liked the film because it was not hell-bent on featuring celebrity cameos and label whoring either. Clearly, V’s long-time life partner Paul Giamatti is the integral tour de force behind…well, the tour de farce himself. That was 25 percent cruel, yes, but inevitably, I think I actually love V even more for some of the hysterical buffoonery displayed in this film. Like I said…it’s charming. Endearing. WTF.
But really, behind the clout of the Valentino name is not only Giamatti (who clearly loves this nutty little tan man unconditionally, in *every* sense of the word), but Valentino’s countless seamstresses, without whom nothing would be possible. These women. Are amazing. The head seamstress barking displeasure in Italian is just one of the many scenes that brought about, yet again, that charmed smirk on my face. One of the many.
Valentino, the last emperor of fashion? This film makes a decent case for such a bold statement. But an emperor he was. They really don’t make em like Valentino anymore, they just don’t.
Elegance is the balance between proportion, emotion, and surprise. –Valentino Garavani