Valentino: The Last Emperor

Valentino: The Last Emperor

During watching this film last night, I longed to be born 70 years ago. To live through an era where clothing (among other products) were made by hand, made with precision, and built to last.Ā The film is a brief glimpse into the life of Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti and their bittersweet decision to retire after the dramatic sale of their business to a private equity firm.

Valentino’s story was a classic rags to riches tale of a man who started with nothing and created a global following. I was in awe of the pure genious of his work, and the dedication of his staff to sew every dress created in his entire career by hand. Mentioned in the film is the fact that theyĀ purchasedĀ a sewing machine once, but never used it!
A retrospective celebration of his 45 years in the industry displayed hundreds of his creations, which still existed on racks decades later. A far cry from the mass produced clothing industry of today in which anything isĀ accessible,Ā and in turn just as disposable.

I was so saddened to see that even such a great creator and artisan was eventually taken advantage of by greedy businessĀ mogulsĀ eager to make their bottom dollar bigger. ‘The world is very different today’ ValentinoĀ reminisces, and hints at the fact that there is no place for people like him anymore. Such aĀ magnificentĀ tale, but one also of tragedy as it focuses on what is really important to people in the 21st century, which is wealth brought about by mass production and marketing.

The production rooms of Valentino, where everything is sewn by hand with needle and thread!

Katie Gannon

After running an ethical fashion label for 5 years, I started this blog in 2007 after learning first hand about the importance of sustainability in fashion design. I am a passionate environmentalist and wish to promote individuals and organisations around the world working on innovative design. I have a BA in Communications / Media as well as a Cert IV in Clothing Production, and run my own graphic design company at

1 Comment
  • Atelier Dona Dalmira
    Posted at 18:42h, 06 November Reply

    Querido Valentino seus vestidos sĆ£o incrivelmente lindos… Sou costureira de alta costura e admiro seu trabalho!

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