Last night we were treated to a screening of the new Valentino documentary, Valentino: The Last Emperor. The film, directed by former Vanity Fair editor Matt Tyrnauer, follows Valentino and his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, just before Valentino’s retirement. And it’s amazing in just the way we hoped. If you loved the Karl Lagerfeld documentary, Lagerfeld Confidential (which you did), you will adore this just as much. Valentino doesn’t frolic around on an airplane in a kimono like Karl, but we see him and Giancarlo lovingly bicker over dresses, fashion-show sets, and even which café they first met at. And as if they’re not adorable and hilarious enough, there are the clothes! Glorious, glorious dress after dress coming to life before your very eyes! Each sequin and every panel sewn on by hand; sometimes six or seven seamstresses work on a dress at once. We see inside Valentino’s atelier in the midst of designing the couture collections, where the hard-ass head seamstress tells her minions their work sucks when it already looks perfect.
But our very favorite parts were the cameos by Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue editors Hamish Bowles and André Leon Talley. The film follows Vava and Giancarlo as they put together his 45th-anniversary show, party to celebrate it at the Coliseum, and retrospective. Hamish is called in as a consultant on the retrospective, and we see him giddy to be in a room with 45 years of Valentino clothes. But he did not take the schoolgirl cake. Oh no. That belongs to André, who is fitted for a vintage Valentino robe to wear to the Coliseum party and bursts into shrieks of ecstasy at just seeing his options in the showroom. We think he may have even jumped up and down. And then at the retrospective, Vava takes Karl Lagerfeld by the hand to a room where 45 years of his dresses are hung. They marvel together at the work that went into it, and Karl says to Vava, “Look what we do. Everyone else — they are making rags.” So in sum, Valentino’s six adorable pugs are far from the best part. And yes, they’re amazing, too.