Valentino: The Last Emperor

I get to see the Valentino doc at TIFF. This is gonna be so amazing.
Valentino: The Last Emperor

Country: USA
Year: 2008
Language: English, Italian, French
Runtime: 96 minutes
Format: Colour/35mm
Rating: G

Production Company: Acolyte Films
Executive Producer: Carter Burden
Producer: Matt Kapp
Cinematographer: Tom Hurwitz
Editor: Bob Eisenhardt
Sound: Peter Miller
Principal Cast: Valentino Garavani, Giancarlo Giammetti
International Sales Agent: UTA/Submarine Entertainment

He stands vindicated as one of the great arbiters of twentieth-century design. His forty-five-year career spans the dizzying innovations and financial explosion of post-war global fashion, from his start in the French ateliers where he studied, through the meteoric rise of his line in the sixties, when Italian fashion houses came to dominate the international marketplace, and on to today, as he departs, elegant as ever. A master technician, Valentino never forgot to keep women and men beautiful in his clothes. He works free from the waves and trends of the fashion world, adhering to a more Orphic, timeless relationship between fabric, body and form. He also, not incidentally, created an entirely new interpretation of the colour red.

This documentary, spanning the period between Valentino’s seventieth birthday and his final couture show, is of course concerned with showing his contributions to his field. But the film actually aims not for the head, but the heart. At the centre is a love story: the fifty-year relationship between Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti, his business partner, lover, best friend and confidante. Older gay European couples are not exactly known for their tell-all personalities, so this careful lifting of the veil gives us a sense of the unusual strength and courage these remarkable men needed to navigate the brutal world of egos and high finance – and to do so together. Their moments onscreen are touching, joyous and heartbreaking. Their five dogs (all pugs! chic!) are a constant delight.

This emotionally rich backbone contextualizes Valentino’s relationship with fame. There is no shortage of high-wattage celebrities floating through the film. It has ever been thus with him; Jackie O. herself married Onassis in a Valentino gown. But the filmmakers are careful to note that the glitterati deal with Valentino as an artist and as part of a relationship. It renders their crazy world – his house in the United Kingdom and its staff are not to be believed – that much more human and intimate.

It is perhaps such a balance that makes Valentino’s couture so treasured. His pieces are objects of glamour, to be sure, yet possess an attention to detail and delicacy that speaks to a gentle, loving soul behind the scenes.

Thom Powers

geekiviews: Eleven Minutes

I saw Eleven Minutes with Danielle during Hot Docs. It was the night of the TTC strike to be exact.
Eleven Minutes

This feature documentary follows fashion designer, Jay McCarroll’s year-long journey designing and preparing his first independent runway show and selling of his clothing line to stores after wiining the first season of Project Runway. This in-depth, raw and humorous documentary explores the conflict of balancing commerce with art, fame with talent, and reality-TV with actual reality.

It was an excellent movie. I think anyone who really wants to be a designer should see it. It’s stripped down and raw, there is no glamorizing of his whole ordeal. It was funny as all hell and Jay had me pissing my pants. I also loved the crazy PR lady that everyone was afraid of. It’s a real emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end. I definitely recommend it to any fashion fan or curious bystander.

The Toronto Fashion Incubator is sponsoring a screening of Eleven Minutes on Tuesday, June 17 at 7:00pm in Theater 222, Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue, U of T Campus, one block south of St. George subway station. Tickets are $8 – – TFI Members & Fashion Design Students get in for $5.

Simply go to Main Programming B, Tuesday 7:00 PM. Click on “Organizations” to buy your advance ticket using most major credit cards. Tickets will be held at the door. Last date to take advantage of this special offer is May 30, 2008.

The Secret World of Haute Couture

Agenda Inc. linked to the BBC documentary The secret world of Haute Couture

I want to tell you about a club I’ve heard of. It’s secret, highly exclusive. There are no written rules to decide if you can or can’t join. There’s no official committee to vote you in. This club has got only about 200 members in the entire world, all women. What they have in common is the desire and the means to acquire the most expensive clothes that money can buy.

Edit: I’ve found a single youTube video for this great documentary. Enjoy it in it’s entirety now.