Fashion and film: the Valentino documentary, and other precedents Featured

Houses are making their own films: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and more
by 26 November 2009

The relationship between fashion and film has long been a symbiotic one. It is the tale of two mighty industries uniting in pursuit of the elusive haute consumer. While celebrity endorsements like those offered by Gwyneth Paltrow for Tod’s or Monica Bellucci for Cartier have become commonplace, the big fashion houses are now upping the stakes by investing in their own big budget productions.

Back in 2007, when Louis Vuitton released a film about their relationship with designer Marc Jacobs, viewers were given unfettered access to ateliers and fashion shows. This kick-started a vogue for fashion documentaries that has culminated in the controversial 2009 fly-on-the-wall documentary Valentino: “The Last Emperor” which eviscerates the world of the aging couturier just as his empire is collapsing around him.

The film centers on Valentino's relationship with his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti as they hop from palace to yacht via their lavish private jet, accompanied by Valentino's six pugs. On route you get a delicious behind-the-scenes peek at their decadent lifestyle funded by the hundreds of millions of dollars created by Giammetti's corporate strategy.

Culminating in an extravagant three-day spectacular to mark Valentino's 45th anniversary as a fashion icon; that features his retrospective exhibition, black tie ball and circus show themed in his signature red, the final throes of the film depict the man himself being crowned the king of fashion on the eve of his retirement.

Now real–life drama has given way to creative content worthy of a place at Cannes. Dior’s Lady Noir, a short but beautifully produced piece starring Marion Cotillard reunited the Oscar-winner with her director from “La Vie En Rose”, Oliver Dahan. In the same vein, Chanel’s short piece by Jean Pierre Jenuet, the director of wistful romance “Amelie” again directed his leading lady Audrey Tautou in a film to promote the relaunch of classic fragrance Chanel No.5.

With the release of “Coco Before Chanel”, a big budget biopic on the life, love and inspiration of the legendary designer, a whole new generation has been drawn into the heart of the Chanel story. Emotive and compelling, it is set to be the first of many big screen adaptations that tap into the rich vein of glamour and intrigue in the world of fashion.

In a final twist to the plot, Fendi accessories and menswear designer Silvia Venturini Fendi is planning to step behind the camera, after securing the rights to Rossana Rossanda’s film about an Italian family working in the textile business. She is set to produce the movie with director Luca Guadagnino and award-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Related articles:
Chanel, Dior, Armani and Vuitton, highlights
Jil Sander limited edition "Little Red"