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Review: 'Valentino: The Last Emperor'

Documentary lauds the legendary Italian fashion designer and his four decades of making women 'beautiful.'

By Peter Rainer / April 3, 2009



Maybe I'm not the right person to be writing about "Valentino: The Last Emperor," a documentary devoted to the glorious excess of the legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani. My tastes, after all, run more toward the Gap. Still, this love letter to Valentino from director Matt Tyrnauer seems intended for the already smitten. We're meant to sit back and bask in the majesty of Valentino's achievement as he prepares for his February 2007 prêt-à-porter show in Paris, bops among his mansions in Rome, Paris, London, and Switzerland's Gstaad, receives France's Legion of Honor for his "contributions to art and culture" and, as a grand finale, presides over a gargantuan tribute to his 40-year career at a celebration in Rome estimated to cost more than $20 million. Aside from Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's business partner and companion for 50 years, nobody involved in this movie seems to have wiped the stardust from his or her eyes. Grade: B-

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