Thursday, July 28, 2011
5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris
If you want to spend some time inside an haute couture atelier, watching amazing dresses come to life, I highly recommend renting Yves Saint Laurent, the two-part feature film, and going straight to part two, 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, the documentary showing Saint Laurent putting together his final collection before his retirement in 2002. Joined by his longtime muse, Loulou de la Falaise, trusted advisor, Anne-Marie Muñoz, and his seamstresses—look for Georgette, my favorite, with glasses and short red hair—you watch Yves and his team transforming his sketches into glorious haute couture. This was the film that made me want to start sewing again.
I read complaints on Netflix that this movie was boring, but I disagree. It is meditative and there are no voice-overs (although there are English translations), but I liked this fly-on-the-wall approach. It made me feel like I was actually in the room and showed me the inner workings of an atelier and the unbelievable skill of the women and men who worked for Yves. His affection for them is touching and some of the best parts of the film are when Yves is watching a beautiful model walk into his gilded salon, him seeing for the first time one of his sketches come to life. He would say, “Oh, ravissante!” (Ravishing!) with utter pleasure and then praise the seamstress who accompanies the dress when she presents it to him. It’s fascinating to see the collaborative process between Yves Saint Laurent, one of the world’s most famous and iconic fashion designers, and the talented tailors and seamstresses who turn his vision into wearable, exquisite reality.