Great news for anyone who missed this 2010 BBC documentary about the legendary Italian designer and couturier, Valentino - Valentino: The Last Emperor is now available for a limited time on BBC iPlayer as part of the Storyville season.
The film crew follow the designer, who turns 80 next year, across the globe tracking his every move, documenting two of his collections, his spectacular 45th anniversary exhibition and celebrations, but it is his personal relationships which give the most insight into this notoriously guarded man.
Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's saintly patient partner of over 50 years and the honorary President of the Valentino house, talks openly about both their personal and business relationships. This is a man who has clearly taken on a hugely stressful supportive role, absorbing any anxieties on behalf of his partner so that he can truly shine.
It is fascinating to see the human, playful side of Valentino's character in their interactions as well as in his encounters with respected peer, Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld - not to mention his beloved dogs. How cute?? I think they deserve their own show.
Despite its 90 minute run time - mostly involving the many takeovers and edgy business dealings of the company which lead to his retirement in January 2008 - I could easily have watched an entire series on Valentino alone. It is just so warm and gripping for anyone with an interest in people watching regardless of their love of fashion.
From backroom seamstress tantrums and sneak peeks into the designer's many homes, to flashbacks from his career throughout the decades and some of the most exquisite gowns for both catwalk and from his archive worn by clients including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O, I just didn't want this delicious, humorous, diva-packed documentary to end. Must see TV.