I really love style and beauty. I guess that’s why I love fashion so much.

I just saw Valentino-The Last Emperor.
What a great film!
What a prolific designer.
45 years of non-stop designing.

At the beginning of the film you don’t know when he is going to retire.
He’s in his seventies.
Everyone wants to know if this is his last show!
The film begins with the lead-up to his latest Collection.

OMG, the designs, the seamstresses, models, assistants, tempers, the drama, the drama, the drama. He is definitely like an emperor the way he orders everyone around him and has them all on pins and needles-no pun intended-whenever he holds court.

But he expects the same 200 percent he puts in-which is why he is so successful in addition to his natural talent-from everyone else.

I’m a Taurus so I’ve always been attracted (I typed ‘attached’ by mistake-perhaps a Freudian slip, yah?)  to beauty and beautiful things. Mom said, ‘Jean, you have expensive taste,’ and my reply to that statement-if I’d had one-would have been to say to mom, ‘You say that like it’s a bad thing!’. She probably would have given me a smack on the behind if I had smarted off to her like that. Oh Mom!

Mom never gave a shit about material things. She grew up never wanting for anything and had a pretty idealistic childhood-other than having an alcoholic for a dad, although that came later. Suffering from anemia and migraine headaches wasn’t a lot of fun but she had lots of attention and a lovely extended family..

Her parents had nice things, a great social life, put on nice parties, but she saw that it didn’t really bring them happiness. She loved being out in nature, riding her horse, reading a book, I just don’t think she was that concerned with material stuff.

But, anyways, lately I find myself less interested in beautiful things and more interested in the beauty of the mind.
Developing my mind.

Because I have noticed that although I still do love beautiful things,don’t get me wrong, they don’t bring lasting fulfillment. But, I digress….Back to Valentino.

Valentino works hard which leads him to untold riches-like an emperor. (Hardly the starving artist.) He continues to lead a life of excess, spending vast amounts on residences, yachts, art, staff, but in the film it is revealed that what really gets him emotional. Toward the end of the film, you see this it is his relationship with people. Notwithstanding his relationship with rich people is what keeps him afloat.

It’s hard for him to talk about what he feels. That comes out in his art, his clothes, his designs. The beauty that he feels. He works for the machine of fashion-the haute couture industry-  which caters to the playground of the rich who are some of his closest friends.

By being too attracted to the material world it is easy to get attached.

And, that is what, I guess I’m trying to do:
become less attached to the material
and more attracted to the ethereal.

Things you can’t touch.
Ethereal as in, ideas, thoughts, helping others, attention toward others, spreading good, connecting with people, helping connect certain people to other people, bringing people together, bringing worlds together, and thus helping to bring the world-in general-together.
But that’s just me.

I’m not judging Valentino as I love beautiful things still and love what he has accomplished and his immense talent and his toughness to make it all happen. What touched me the most was when he let show his softer side-the side that appreciated those closest to him, his staunchest allies, his dedicated workers, followers, yes, even the hangers-on.

There is NO WAY he could have accomplished what he did without his TRIBE.

His partner, Giancarlo, the business man behind the genius, keeps him from going completely in debt and out of business. Valentino is not focused on money, although he would spend it all if there wasn’t someone who had a plan. Luckily, he found the partner with the plan–the one whom he could trust (together for forty-five years, mind you) to delegate the business end of things.

Valentino and the company ‘Valentino’ get so big after a while, that not just one man can handle all the decision making.  That’s when  the delegated partner, Giancarlo, must delegate some more.

This is where it gets tricky.  When the company has grown to such and extent that an outside corporation becomes involved in daily operations with Valentino, it keeps taking more and more of a percentage of the stock in the company until it owns it outright.

Will Valentino we become a deposed emperor or will he resign as it is now time for some fresh blood?
Will Fashion-the ever changing chameleon-need to cater to a younger audience?
Is Valentino passe now?
Yet, how do you replace Valentino?
There is only one Emperor Valentino-One of the last of the good-old-boy network of haute couture fashion, a dying breed.

Near the film’s climax, following a spectacular, Feast For The Eyes 45th Year Celebration of Valentino, Valentino graciously, decides whether or not this latest Collection will be his Swansong.

You’ll have to watch to see whether Valentino and partner Giancarlo get to spend more time together–away from Valentino the Corporation.

After 45 years, they deserve some alone time, to just live.

Even Emperors need that!







{artwork: JeanMorganCompton}

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