Today I watched a fabulous documentary on the fashion designer, Valentino. Such a visionary. Truly the last of the breed that included Chanel, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and Givenchy. I wish the documentary had been more about his life as a designer and the iconic pieces he designed for Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. It was more about his last 2 collections before he retired from haute couture. It was about how corporate high fashion has become – about takeovers and fragrances and handbags. But they did do a lot of filming in the work rooms where the army of seamstresses delicately thread beads and make ruffles and stitch every little tiny stitch by hand. Valentino may be the creative force behind his own name but the seamstresses are the machine that make it happen. His partner of 45 years (both in business and life) said that they once bought a sewing machine but none of the women used it, so they never bought another one.

45 years of Valentino Red

The documentary also highlighted a 45 year retrospective with a party of 200,000 (if I understood the Italian translation right) and a display of his vintage pieces at Ara Pacis in Rome. Hamish Knowles, who curated the Jackie O show at the Costume Institute at the Met in New York, worked on this retrospective as well.

I had heard that the documentary showed Valentino in an unfavorable light. That he was a diva and prima donna. There were a few diva moments but if I had a camera crew following me around for a year, I would have a moment or two as well.

Excellent documentary. If you enjoy fashion, this is one for you.

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