I saw Valentino, The Last Emperor last night and will forever hold in my memory the image of a woman holding the sheerest piece of red chiffon and with one pull of a single thread creating a ruffle.

The pugs were enchanting, the dresses fantastic and the glimpse of the relationship between Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti is captivating. For more information on the film and theaters nationwide click here; Kansas City show times here.

Images of Valenino’s villa on Capri from House and Garden, June, 1991. Photographs by Oberto Gili. The walls are frescoed, the linens Porthault. “For me, decorating a room is like designing a dress. Both can be full of fantasy.” Valentino
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14 thoughts on “Bellissimo

  1. Fantasy is the steam engine that took me away from an unhappy childhood and continues to provide escape whenever I need it. Every day I visit the blogs of adult woman who have in their minds-eye a perfect place where they can feel safe, protected, immune from criticism and at the same time exposed to it. I live in that world and covet it. Access to my drug of choice through these blogs is wonderful. There is the promise that if I just do it right, this time, this time I will do it right and it will come out alright, this time. Do you think that instead of our homes being our castles through some element of our repetition compulsions they have become our prisions? Ann

  2. Linenqueen – we share a similar background, I fear, as well as a similar escape. Home, for me once I made my own, has always been a refuge and I never see it as anything else. I am quite aware that other things, like my behemoth car, are bars on the birdcage. A wise man once pointed out to me, though, that I do hold the key. He also helped me learn the value of good enough.

  3. Tantalising questions. I think they can be prisons if their magnitude expands beyond reason.

    I think the word "escape" is key. If one learns to move forward rather than simply submerging oneself in an alternative life, then they can regain the happiness they deserved before and did not get.

  4. Can't wait to see Valentino myself. I have seen him several times on television… such a beautiful man with incredible vision! We are looking for escape…and beauty!

  5. mrs.B
    i am sad because i can't see it yet.
    it will not be in a town near me for a while.
    i can hardly wait !


  6. Well the couturiers are always breathless to watch. Sundance Chnnel has a slew of fashion films that they replay & every so often the put them all at once, including one on the Couturiers of Paris. Jaw dropping artitst at work & it just held me so divine.
    They also have docs too, Ralph Rucci (an idol), creating a season at Chanel with shadowing Lagerfeld & one on Ives.
    I too had a miserable childhood but from all the garbage I became acutely aware of others & the capacity of my heart. In learning to trust my love & self I set myself free.

  7. Hello, Mrs B-

    Adored the Valentino film, saw it twice, once with commentary by Matt Tyrnauer, the director, who is v v modest about it. It was kind of an 'accidental' film–he started making a biography, and then in the middle of it the sale was happening, the end of an era. Great insight from you here.
    At risk of reversing a trend–I had a very happy childhood and had never heard of anyone having a horrid childhood until I came to the US. I had always thought childhood, by its very nature, was automatically happy. My days were carefree (but I used to wonder if I would have achieved more or been more driven or pessimistic or been a better person if I had suffered a miserable childhood). Growing up in New Zealand was pretty much Arcadia–and I could not wait to leave! I saw my life in New York or Paris.
    So, there are two sides to the effect of childhood–and bad or good it is what you do subsequently, and how you 'get a grip', or re-envision yourself or grow up, or make your way in life, that matter.
    I have dear friends who had Dickensian childhoods. They achieved wonders.
    I hardly want to describe swimming in the river that ran through our property or attending Royal Ballet concerts with my mother and father, my adoring grandmother.
    Sometimes it is necessary to overcome a 'happy' childhood as well–and gain new perspective.

  8. Diane – I would love for you to describe those scenes as I am sure you would do it beautifully. I am hanging my hat on the theory that happy childhoods produce happy and interesting adults, but perhaps I am being the optimist here. We'll have to wait and see if any of the boys tell a different tale. What certainly is true is that what comes next is indeed up to us; at some point you have to pick out the best parts and move on.

    I'm incredibly flattered that you are stopping here.

  9. I was just dropping in to say thanks for the endorsement. I am looking forward to taking my daughter to see the movie.
    The comments from your readers are incredible! What an intelligent audience Mrs. B. Such a well-deserved compliment to you.
    Susan Jones

  10. Mrs B-

    I love the tone of your posts.

    'Good enough' is such a beautiful and transcendent expression. Thank you for mentioning.

    Speaking of which: another great and similar concept was passed along to me by a very successful tech friend of mine as I was embarking on the blog. He said 'Don't give up good for great'-meaning, don't wait and procrastinate to launch a site, a company, a concept with a desire for it to be 'perfect' before the launch. Let it be 'good' (or good enough) and then work on it, perfect it.
    I found this concept extremely helpful.
    I will see you soon!

  11. Diane – I love that concept. Giving up good for great is a stumbling block of mine, I think. So glad you decided to jump on-line.

  12. I've found all these comments fascinating Patricia. For me it's not the wonderful childhood I had per se, but rather the one abiding thought I left those halycon days with. The love of 2 parents who quietly told me that the world is a wondrous place & that with determination, I could achieve anything. Does Matt Tyrnauer give us any insight into Valentino's childhood in this movie? It's not been released here in Australia as yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing it very much. Thanks for the forward preview.
    Millie ^_^

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