André Leon Talley Gushes About His Pal Valentino

by Eddie Roche

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Last night, Valentino Garavani celebrated his new book, Valentino: At The Emperor’s Table, at a signing at the stunning Valentino flagship on Fifth Avenue. The book invites readers into his luxurious world, and includes photos of his homes in Gstaad, London, Rome, New York, and Paris, as well as his yacht. He’s even sharing some of his favorite recipes with readers. Giancarlo Giammetti, Anne Hathaway, Martine and Prosper Assouline, Carolina Herrera, and Johannes Huebl stopped by the store to show support for the legendary designer turned author. He called upon his old friend André Leon Talley, who was also in attendance last night, to write the forward. So we sat down with ALT for a moment to get a mouthful on what makes this man so special and why he was honored to be included in the project. We were hanging on his every word…

“When Giancarlo Giammetti called me to ask me to write the forward, I was so flattered. I couldn’t say no, I couldn’t resist. He is a master, and I am so proud that a master asked me to do something like this in my career at this point in my life. I was so very, very proud to write the introduction. I worked very hard on it, and I worked very closely with Giancarlo Giammetti, who was like my editor, and it was a smooth, fluid, wonderful, wonderful experience. Wonderful right up until the very end. Right after the Kim Kardashian and Kanye [West] lunch at the Chateau, right after their wedding, I went back to the hotel and did the final edit. I’ve been to all of the houses, except London. I’ve been to ‘Staad, which I absolutely love. My favorite house I think is The Chateau [de Wideville], but the New York apartment is, you can’t, you know, throw stones at that either. In each house, there is a sense of coziness, a moment of great opulence, but it’s not pompous. There’s nothing pompous about this book, and there’s nothing pompous about Valentino, because this is who he is. He is celebrating his success, he’s worked hard, and look what fashion has brought him. When you go to his houses you may see something that looks very precious, and it may be almost museum-quality. At the same time, he makes everything very cozy and very relaxed, but in a very traditional, formal way. You can go to his house in hot pants if you want, if you’re a girl. And probably if you’re a boy, too. He might not like it if you’re a boy, but he would be amused. He’s surrounded by wonderful friends. He’s been very loyal to me during my career, and I have always been very loyal to him, because I do think that his work is some of the finest ever. The Jackie O wedding dress [when she married] Ari Onassis is iconic. That is an iconic look. It’s a world of beauty, and Valentino shares it with people, and this book is only going to show people that you can have a beautiful plate and beautiful china and beautiful glassware and a beautiful tablecloth, and its not pretentious. As he says, ‘Even when I’m eating alone, my food is served on beautiful plates’.”

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