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2009 March 18

The Emperor's Ball

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Giancarlo Giammetti, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino, and Valentino Giancarlo Giammetti, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino, and Valentino
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(NEW YORK) “I've still getting over the fact that a Cannes Film Festival is happening on 53st street!” exclaimed Lake Bell as she entered the Valentino: The Last Emperor New York premiere at MoMA. In fact, those who were lucky enough to see the documentary on screen quickly realized that Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti don’t do anything small. With the help of Gilt Groupe’s Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Quintessentially, they’ve put on arguably their most grandiose Gotham soirée ever. And even though the inseparable duo have screened the documentary based on their lives in cities like Toronto, Miami, and Venice, they saved the best party for last. “I was terrible because I said at every other premiere that New York was ultimately at my heart,” admitted Valentino. “But you know, I have a feeling that they’ll love it based on the reaction it received everywhere else.”

Love it they did. Film guests like Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy, Carolina Herrera, Anna Wintour, Coco Rocha, Charlie Rose, Blythe Danner, Michael Stipe, Ingrid Sichy and Sandy Brant, and a fresh-from-Europe Karolina Kurkova all cheered, cried, and laughed during the screening and the film’s stars once again stayed in the darkroom to experience their journey with the most powerful critics yet. “Of course there's no such a thing as the Last Emperor, but he just may be the ultimate emperor of Italy,” praised Herrera, who knew Valentino since 1970. “I've had multiple screenings of the film and it almost becomes more and more tender with each viewing,” said emotional Daphne Guinness. “I can't wait to own the DVD!”

Anne Hathaway hinted that she was fortunate to make the final cut of the film. “It's one thing to admire a creation and a whole another to love a creator as well,” she sang. “With Valentino, you love the clothes, you love the man. I'm just lucky to even have my face on film during his life story." Anja Rubik agreed. “It was a privilege seeing myself on screen,” she said. “I instantly had memories of the greatest of houses and what used to be my long hair!” Regis Philbin claimed to grow estrogen in few hours of screening. “My feminine side took over and I was with this giant in every scene!” he laughed.

The glam caravan then moved six blocks away to the Plaza’s historic Oak Room, where familiar faces like Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez, Erin Fetherston, Chanel  Iman, Candy Pratts Price, Elise Øverland, Agyness Deyn, Genevieve Jones, Hope Atherton, Eric Wilson, Brian Reyes, and Hana Soukupova all made it to the grand dinner for about 200. But the most surprising late entry was undoubtedly Madonna, who joined Valentino and Gwyneth Paltrow for a meal of halibut and raspberry cream cake. “I got the call and I did my best to speed here for Valentino,” she simply put it. At her table, Val’s immediate family of Giammetti and Carlos Souza took pictures, and discussed everything from babies to couture. “How’s my little Moses?” inquired Giammetti.  “He’s very chatty. So, he’s entering that irresistible stage,” responded a happy Paltrow before discussing her legendary seatmate. “I'm just savoring every moment of being in Valentino's presence,” she admitted. “They don't make them like him or Karl anymore.”

Before long, Zac Posen joined the table and pondered his own documentary potential. “I wouldn't mind being followed around too for two years,” he mused. “It's all about having the right collaborators.”  In Valentino’s case, that would be director Matt Tyrnauer, who was showered with praise in between courses. “In the end, both stars of the films are Italian,” said the director. “Even if they're mad at you or going crazy, you're still at the family table for dinner.” The only breakout faces missing at the fête were the designer’s five famous pugs. “They're getting some time away from me in Italy,” explained the proud owner. But even without his treasured pups, Val was clearly touched and elated by the end of the night. “I get up every morning and I'm satisfied,” he concluded. “I have so much to do and it was always my dream to do costumes for the theatre. There's a lot more to give and I wouldn’t change anything about my life. I'm just a lucky human being!”
VALENTINE UHOVSKI




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