The only thing more unpredictable than fashion itself may be films about fashion.
Nevertheless, a doc about Valentino is aiming to ride a wave of publicity from the designer’s impending retirement. The end to his 45-year career will be marked Jan. 23 with a final runway show at the Rodin Museum in Paris.
The high-def “Valentino: The Last Emperor” was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, a correspondent for Vanity Fair. Shot over a two-year span ending last summer, it aims to be not just be a biopic but a look at the fashion biz itself.
In the wake of “The Devil Wears Prada” and with TV’s “Project Runway” continuing to draw auds, the question is: Is the pic poised to hit the runway at the right moment?
Festival berths, especially at fashion-crazed Cannes, could certainly boost the profile of “Valentino.” But the track record for films about fashion, especially docs, is decidedly mixed. The last notable entry was “Yves St. Laurent: His Life and Times,” which grossed $99,819 in 2004.
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The touchstone is “Unzipped,” the breezy doc about Isaac Mizrahi, which clicked in 1995. That erased memories of the prior year’s meltdown of Robert Altman’s “Pret-a-Porter.”
It’s worth remembering that in 1995, when “Unzipped” was taking its bows at Cannes, an equally lauded doc, “Catwalk,” brought then-omnipresent supermodels Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington to the Croisette. Its final theatrical gross: $28,672.