Anyone who has watched Valentino: The Last Emperor will know that the legendary Italian designer is quite the character. So when Harrods invited me to attend this year’s Vogue Festival I immediately selected the Valentino: King of Glamour talk. And it’s fair to say I made the right decision. He was on top form and seemed to have a blast up on stage with British Vogue‘s Alexandra Shulman.
Here are 10 soundbites from Valentino’s hour-long interview. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did…
On sewing: “No stitching. I never do any stitching. I drape the material on top of the mannequin, I explain to my seamstress how a dress has to be cut… all the details, because I know the detail for inside and outside.”
On his little design tricks: “The little tricks? I don’t know. Sorry, I cannot be vulgar. If a lady has a bosom that is not very high we put it in a way that is up.”
On dressing celebrities: “I am happy when Julia Roberts goes to The Academy Awards wearing Valentino. Of course it is a big satisfaction. It’s always very touching when you have people who really care about you and who love your clothes.”
On Valentino: The Last Emperor: “One day they ask me if I want to do a film with Giancarlo Giammetti, and I let them shoot and do this film. I said yes like I say yes, tomorrow I will go to see a film. I didn’t realise that for two-and-a-half years I have somebody behind my shoulder filming, filming, filming… And finally, after a long time, when they showed me the film I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like it. And the opening night at the Venice Film Festival came, and I was there sitting in my chair and was not very comfortable, but at the end of the film I had 10 minutes of standing ovation. So I changed my mind a tiny bit…”
On ’80s fashion: “I never liked the ’80s. I hated it. Women, they really looked very vulgar. I loved the 2000’s. I loved it because everybody was doing collections that were really loving women, people were making beautiful clothes. And I loved the ’60s and the ’70s very very much.”
On computers, Twitter and Instagram: “If you give me a computer I throw it out the window. Unfortunately. I wish to know everything, but you know, I am surrounded by people and they are with the computer in their stomach. From morning to the evening. In bed, in the loo… everywhere! And I am really very happy not to do this.”
On the other designers he admirers: “There are so many and they do beautiful jobs. I never mention names because jealously is terrible. But there are people who do a very good job.”
In response to a not-so-subtle dig at Kim Kardashian (which I think went over his head) and the publicity-driven culture we live in today: “Everybody has talent and everybody tries to be their best… I cannot judge, because I came little by little. To become famous in two minutes is quite difficult.”
Why he chose to have five pugs: “I had a female and she had some puppies, so they were there and I decided to keep all of them. Because they were too beautiful.”
And finally, Valentino was asked what he would have done with his life if he hadn’t gone into fashion. He paused, smiled, and then replied “fashion”.
And a big thank you goes out to Harrods for inviting me to this year’s Vogue Festival!