Valentino: The Last Emperor is impeccably titled. Not only does the film reveal the state of unbridled opulence in which this famously tanned designer lives and works, it also showcases an amazing relationship that has withstood the test of time. That is, the relationship between Valentino Garavani and his business / life partner Giancarlo Giammetti; a relationship which, at the time of filming, had just capped nearly five decades, as the couple (not to mention like 50 billion other people) celebrated Valentino’s 45th year career anniversary.
In the film we witness the adorable pair preparing Valentino’s final couture show and accompanying celebration / exhibition, set appropriately, if not necessarily ostentatious, at the Colosseum in Rome. And, while I could gush over their precious bickering, emotional hand-holding and obvious mutual love and appreciation, I will stop myself because, really, you should just go see it. (That is, if you haven’t already. I am really behind the times with this one.)
Instead, I will focus on some other very interesting relationships that became apparent as Valentino sashayed one last time down the runway, following the models cloaked in his dreamlike creations. With tears in his eyes and a wave for Miss Universe to envy, the impossibly young-looking designer was greeted with a standing ovation. Among the celebrity-filled front row (Gwyneth; SJP; Anne Hathaway; Elizabeth Hurley) are Valentino’s peers, beaming like parents at a school play.
Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donatella Versace, Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford and a gamut of others show support of Valentino with such gusto that I had to stop to think – in the new class of ever-evolving designers, who will be the cheerleaders of the next generation?
In effort to spread the love, I decided to play a fun game of mix ‘n match so our designer spring chickens can have BFFers, too!
PHILLIP LIM ~ ALEXANDER WANG
JASON WU ~ THAKOON PANICHGUL
ERIN FETHERSTON ~ LUELLA BARTLEY
PRABAL GURUNG ~ JOSEPH ALTUZARRA
Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez for PROENZA SCHOULER ~ Kate & Laura Mulleavy for RODARTE
Stacey Bendet and Rebecca Matchett for ALICE + OLIVIA ~ Marcus Wainwright and David Neville for RAG AND BONE
Those are just some initial thoughts. Being artistically inclined, they’re sure to bicker, break-up, re-align and get back together. Lest we forget the celeb-set, I must make additional note of my superstar matchings, because we can assume that those famous outside of fashion would stick together within.
Sienna and Savannah Miller for Twenty8Twelve ~ Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen forNow, if I only had paper dolls…
ELIZABETH & JAMES / THE ROW
Gwen Stefani for L.A.M.B. ~ Kimora Lee Simmons for BABYPHAT
RACHEL ROY ~ Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala for WILLIAM RAST
Photo credit: Image from VALENTINO: Themes and Variations by Pamela Golbin, Rizzoli New York, 2008. Red silk crepe batwing sleeve gown from Spring/Summer 1999 captured by photographer Ruven Afanador.