Making “Valentino: The Last Emperor”
By Matt Tyrnauer (director/producer of Valentino the Last Emperor)(from the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival).
The film was in production from June 2005 to July 2007. At first, I thought the movie would be defined by the majesty and sweep of Valentino's life. He lives like a king, and has the castles and the boats and the planes, which were to be our sets. When we screened the footage before the editing started, we were pleased to find we had the potential for much more than a fashion movie on our hands. Over months, what began to take shape was a portrait of an extraordinary partnership, the longest-running in fashion, and a dramatic story about a master confronting the final act of his celebrated career. Near the end of our shooting period, the Valentino Fashion Group was sold to a private equity firm, and Valentino, after years of being sheltered from the rough-and-tumble of the fashion biz, had to confront some of hard realities concerning his industry today, where being an icon and the marquee name are only part of the game. This story line, which we followed aggressively, makes the movie a relevant tale about the business and the struggle of the artists against commerce.