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Giancarlo Giammetti got his first camera when he was twenty-five years old. By the time he started work on Private, the memoir-in-photographs he published in 2013, he had amassed more than 57,000 images. In celebration of Mr. Giammetti's birthday on February 5th, we're devoting this space to a look back at Private. Here, we present an excerpt from the book's second section, "The Tribe," which pays homage to the "extended family" he and Mr. Valentino have created over the years.


"I definitely consider myself a family man, although I've never been married and I have no children of my own." So opens Chapter 2 of Private, a paean to the Valentino-Giammetti "Tribe." This is an invented family of old and new friends, current and former employees, muses who double as informal goddaughters, and once-upon-a-time loves. Some members of the Tribe are boldfaced names—Anne Hathaway ring a bell?—and some are celebrities only within the tightknit Valentino-Giammetti circle, like Daniela Giardina, who began working with Valentino in 1972, doing windows in the boutique.


"Wherever Valentino and I go, we all go," Mr. Giammetti writes. "It's a bit like a traveling circus—sometimes in more ways than one."


The Tribe is ever-changing. As Mr. Giammetti notes, he and Mr. Valentino have "never lost the youthful instinct to make new friends." (To wit, Gwyneth Paltrow has been inner Tribe circle since old school member Rosario Saxe-Coburg introduced her to Mr. Valentino and Mr. Giammetti in 2002.) But some things about Tribe life never change. Fabulous dinners are a fixture, for instance: Back in the day, they might have been chez Diana Vreeland; now it's more likely that Mr. Giammetti and Mr. Valentino are playing host, inviting friends to dine in splendor at one of their pied a terres in New York or London, perhaps a meal of Kamut pasta served on an antique Irish glass plate.


Summers on the water are another staple of Tribe life, as this chapter of Private make clear. Some of Mr. Giammetti's best, most envy-inducing shots are of Tribe members lounging aboard the T.M. Blue or diving off the deck into the Mediterranean Sea. But at the center of it all, of course, are Mr. Valentino and Mr. Giammetti, two family men whose family continues to grow.


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