My Life in Pictures

Giancarlo Giammetti’s dishy new book tracks his and Valentino’s glory days.

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Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino Garavani. From Private by Giancarlo Giammetti, available at assouline.com.

My Life in Pictures

Giancarlo Giammetti’s dishy new book tracks his and Valentino’s glory days.

For more than a half-century, the legendary designer Valentino Garavani has worked and lived alongside a silver-haired, brass-balled, impeccably turned-out Roman named Giancarlo Giammetti. Theirs is a singular partnership, which began in 1960 with a chance meeting in Rome at a Via Veneto café and has, over the years, completely transcended conventional boundaries between the professional and the personal. Almost since that initial encounter, Giammetti has been a meticulous chronicler of his and Valentino’s life together, amassing more than 57,000 photographs and hundreds of visual diaries. Highlights from this trove of closely guarded documents are at the center of Giammetti’s new memoir, Private, out October 15 from Assouline.

The book provides an inside look at a uniquely glamorous existence. There are shots of Valentino and Giammetti as tanned young turks cavorting on Capri and in Saint-Tropez in the ’60s; lounging shirtless aboard Valentino’s yacht, T.M. Blue; and cuddling up to the collection of furry Lalanne sheep sculptures in Valentino’s chalet in Gstaad. Their many famous friends—Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Princess Di, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, the list goes on—are well represented, too, making clear just how central the pair has been to the global social swirl.

Despite its title, Private—which Giammetti cowrote with W’s Deputy Editor, Armand Limnander—is also a remarkably revealing read. Giammetti provides a blow-by-blow of his brief 1981 jail stint (among the charges: insulting a police officer) and shares tales of Valentino’s legendary temper tantrums (he once smashed a plate of pasta against a wall while having an argument about how much salt to put on eggs). He also sheds light on his and Valentino’s long-standing relationship—both throughout the 12 years they were a couple and in the 41 years since, during which time they’ve navigated the world together, accompanied by the lovers and close friends that have become their ad hoc family. The romance may have waned, but the love, it’s clear, is as strong as ever. As Giammetti says in the book’s opening line, “I’ve always felt that my life began when I met Valentino.”