Valentino: The Last Emperor 

"I love beauty — it's not my fault," the septuagenarian Valentino sniffs to reporters backstage at his spring show in February 2007. Filming the last year of the designer's reign — Valentino retired in September 2007 after 45 years in haute couture — dedicated follower of fashion Matt Tyrnauer crafts the slick, superficial portrait that you might expect from a Vanity Fair special correspondent. Structured to make us boo the evil corporations that took over the House of Valentino while fetishistically documenting the details of the designer's three-day swan-song extravaganza in Rome, Valentino is an orgy of châteaus, villas, yachts, major-domos, and Joan Collinses. Then again, perhaps the director really does believe nothing succeeds like excess. Tyrnauer extols Valentino's extreme lavishness as a kind of honorable, defiant stance but demurs from searching for its subject's gravitas. Instead, the film goes for cutesy laughs, cutting to Valentino's six pugs, onboard their master's private jet, having their teeth brushed, peeing during a photo shoot, or being adorned with diamond earrings.

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