One of the world's most celebrated fashion designers, Valentino Garavani developed an interest in design as a teenager and entered the world of haute couture
in the early '50s, working under Jacques Fath, Balenciaga and Jean Desses. In 1959, Valentino opened his own house of fashion in Rome, and he soon became one of the leading lights in European design, known for his trademark shade of red and his clean, stylish lines. With Giancarlo Giammetti, who has been Valentino's business partner and significant other since 1960, the designer built an empire that remained one of the most prestigious in the fashion world until Valentino announced his retirement in the fall of 2007. Filmmaker and journalist Matt Tyrnauer
, who has written about Valentino for Vanity Fair, examines the public and private lives of the fashion icon in his documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor
. Granted unprecedented access to Valentino's home and office, the film offers an unusual look at his relationship with Giammetti, how his creations are made, his lavish lifestyle, and how changes in the world of haute couture
have impacted him. Featuring an original score by Nino Rota
, Valentino: The Last Emperor
received its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.