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Movie Review: Valentino: The Last Emperor

Alternate Title: This Emperor Did Have Clothes

Story: I know nothing about fashion but I know lots about art and this fine film was most definitely artful. Director and writer Matt Tyrnauer (an editor and writer for Vanity Fair) lovingly brings the 45 year career of fashion icon Valentino Garavani to the big screen. It is 2007 and the film opens with what might be the farewell collection for a 75 year old Valentino. The will he or won't he retire question is dangled for the balance of the film.

Using wonderful file footage we see a youthful Valentino age gracefully through his various ground breaking collections, including the presentation of Valentino RED. The history of 20th century haute couture is front and center. Fashionistas will adore this film.

My fascination with the film had more to do with what has happened to the fashion industry over the span of Valentino's career. What used to be a one person owned design house has now become a global conglomerate with licensing of the designer's name, usually without the designer's brilliance. Everything from hats, belts, underwear, and perfume is branded. The uniqueness of the product has faded.

It is also fascinating to see the perks that have come with Valentino's fame. The film follows Valentino as he mad dashes through the glamorous European capitals, with villas and yachts everywhere. Valentino's longtime companion and partner Giancarlo Giammetti is prominently and deservedly featured throughout the film.

Finally, the two best things about this film are the five pugs and the passages where the clothing is designed and sewn. Bravo!

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TcjeDq2e_M

Watch the scene stealing pugs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bCQCnztggQ

Acting: It seemed as if anybody who was anybody if the world of fashion slinked onto the screen with either air kisses or hugs wearing gorgeous outfits. Giorgio Armani, Jeannie Becker, Alessandra Facchinetti, Tom Ford , Giancarlo Giammetti, Karl Lagerfeld , Matteo Marzotto, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claudia Schiffer, André Leon Talley, Valentino, Donatella Versace, Diane von Fürstenberg, Alek Wek, Anna Wintour

Trivia: For some juicy trivia on the life and loves of Valentino check out this website: http://www.netglimse.com/celebs/pages/valentino_garavani/index.shtml

Predilection: None

Critters: Valentino’s adorable, scene stealing five pugs, Milton, Molly, Margot, Maude and Monty

Food: Models do not eat and it seems no one else does either. There are many dinners, but no one ever eats.

Sex Spectrum: No sex. An almost nude model is featured as the clothing is sewn around her.

Soundtrack: Any film that opens with Betty Davis Eyes and closes with The Party's Over has going to be good.

Visual Art: Some marvelous over the top set designs.

Theater Audience: About 25 New Yorkers, most of us clad in black.

Drift Factor: I enjoyed every minute of it.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: No

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: 90 Minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 8