Simon Collins, Dean of the School of Fashion, received his copy of Giancarlo’s tome on Monday and it’s been passed around the school’s faculty and staff like a love note—only one that’s eight hundred pages long! More than a simple “I like you,” Private is a whole universe of love captured in a book. And no one can get enough. The pages illustrated by his handwriting, the photographs of friends, the chapters that never “tell-all” so much as confirm what we always knew, it’s all here: Giancarlo’s beautiful life has been as grand, elegant, and lush as Valentino’s designs.
The book reproduces hundreds of Giancarlo’s gorgeous polaroids and photographs of friends, lovers, artists, writers, and, of course, fashion’s elite: Andy Warhol, Jack Nicholson, Audrey Hepburn, Diane von Furstenberg, Paloma Picasso, Kate Moss. They sit at tables in Roman cafes, hug boyfriends and girlfriends on Seventh Avenue, walk the runway, jump in the couple’s private pool. And of the 57,000 pictures in Giancarlo’s archive, the ones collected in Private are his very best.
As soon as Simon was finished thumbing through (though how can anyone be really through with a book like this?), it went around the school like lightning and became conversation everywhere, even if it left most of us speechless. As Professor Sara Kozlowski said when she first received the book, looking at the early polaroids of Giancarlo and Valentino, “It’s just right.” What more can you say? It simply is.
While the book might be Private, everyone’s here. “My house became a bit of a destination during fashion week in Rome.” And, by the looks of it, his home was a destination every week. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s photographs of friends and Factory members, Giancarlo photographed everyone around him, the people who were like family: “Family is very important to Valentino… [He] and I count on a group of friend and old loves that has grown over the years. I think of this inner circle as our tribe, because wherever Valentino and I go, we all go.”
And finally, tonight, Giancarlo is here.