Famed fashion designer Valentino Garavani is passionate about several things: a beautiful dress, often done in his signature scarlet red, a flawlessly put-together runway show and his troupe of five pugs, who accompany him on private flights to Milan and Paris, happily trotting behind their bronzed master.
"Valentino: The Last Emperor," an entertaining and enlightening documentary about the designer and his celeb-favorite line, was filmed from 2005 to 2007 by Vanity Fair correspondent Matt Tyrnauer, before Valentino announced his retirement in 2008.
Playing a supporting role to Valentino's charming star is the levelheaded Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's lover and business partner. When asked by a prying Italian reporter how he feels living his life in another man's more successful shadow, Giammetti replies, "Happiness." And though the duo bicker like the old couple they have become over 40 glamorous years, arguing in rapid Italian about everything from sequin placement to the café at which they met, their lifelong commitment is evident.
For Valentino and Giammetti, life revolves around fashion, love, and love of fashion, and Trynauer's film captures all the facets of their relationship: the good, the bad and the runway shows.
"The Last Emperor" is beautifully shot porn for the fashion set -- all couture luxury, opulent mansions and private jets. As Valentino's team of seamstresses pore over a sequined white dress, entirely hand-sewn, and finally premiere it to the designer in its flawless, couture glory, it's all you can do not to gasp with pleasure.