Valentino: The Last Emperor is a fascinating look inside the legendary fashion designer’s final year before retirement. I was excited to see the documentary for the clothes. What I didn’t expect was the glimpse into three of his six beautiful homes. The DVD provides a special feature that shows how it takes dozens of staff members to keep his various residences running smoothly–and up to his exacting standards.
Chateau de Wideville, Valentino’s Home Near Paris:
Valentino Garavani walks through the house with his staff before the party begins to be sure everything is perfect:
In the special features, we’re treated to outtakes like this one, where Martha Stewart decides to give herself a tour of the house. She visits the laundry room and kitchen below the main house and introduces herself to the chef, saying, “Hello, I’m Martha Stewart. I write cookbooks.” Cracked me up. (The French chef nods and says, “Yes, I know.”)
The groundskeepers painted brown patches in the grass green before the party. One says, “Don’t tell Mr. Valentino. He doesn’t know we’re doing this.”
The back of the house with a tent set up for a party:
Valentino’s Apartment in New York City:
Valentino’s majordomo (the “major” person on a household staff) is Michael Kelly, who follows him from house to house and makes sure that everything runs smoothly for him. He supervises 30-40 staff members at each of the homes. Here he arrives a few days ahead of Mr. Valentino to get the New York City apartment ready for his visit.
After Kelly has removed all of the dust cloths, including the ones protecting the drapes, the room is ready:
Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti leave the apartment for a night out:
Chalet Gifferhorn, Valentino’s Home in Gstaad, Switzerland:
The table is meticulously set for Mr. Valentino’s lunch at the chalet:
Michael Kelly says the important thing is that the napkins should be handled as little as possible, so they keep the napkin folding simple:
Heather posted some gorgeous photos of Valentino’s ski chalet over at Habitually Chic that were taken for British Vogue.
Forget what Us Weekly says–famous people are not just like us. I can’t remember the last time I was served tea in my chalet in Gstaad.
Valentino’s pugs go everywhere with him and steal every scene they’re in. So cute. Here they’re wearing little black sweaters to go out in the snow:
Love the green shutters on the chalet:
Valentino has been with his partner Giancarlo Giammetti for 50 years. Giammetti took care of the business side of things so that Valentino would be free to create. It became one of the most successful long-term collaborations in fashion history.
They were young men when they met. Giancarlo was still a student who had no business experience at all, but he was determined to help Valentino–whose first business had gone bankrupt–anyway.
Have you seen the movie? Fashion and real estate aren’t the only reasons I enjoyed it. I thought it was really inspirational and touching. When Valentino retired in 2008, it was the end of an era.