|Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent.|
One morning when walking my daughter to school I noticed the theater down the street from my place had this title in the marquee: “Saint Laurent.”
My first thought, of course, was Yves. But a movie about his life showing in a theater that only plays superhero pictures and kids’ flicks? That seemed impossible. There was no poster out front to indicate what movie that title belonged to so I asked the young gal selling tickets what Saint Laurent was about.
She had to look at a screen to read something.
“About a fashion designer,” she said.
“Yves Saint Laurent?”
“Yeah. Him.” Like she had no clue who the man was. Kids these days!
It was only playing for one week and I saw it on the last day. I was the only person there so it ended up being a private screening. What a thrill!
|Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, left.|
Saint Laurent was an interesting movie about Yves’ most creative years, from 1967 to 1976. I thought it was very well cast, with Gaspard Ulliel as Yves, and Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, Yves’ lover and business partner. The movie covers the time Yves had already left Christian Dior and had started his own house and enjoyed tremendous success. It recounts some of the big moments of his career and life—meeting Betty Catroux (Aymeline Valade), one of his lifelong muses and friends, at a disco in the 1960s (he meets his other muse, Loulou de la Falaise, played by Léa Seydoux, later in the film), launching his Rive Gauche ready-to-wear line and boutique in 1966, posing nude in 1971 for the Jeanloup Sieff photo to promote his first male cologne, Pour Homme, and the 1977 release of the scandalously-named perfume, Opium (doesn’t that seem quaint now, that a perfume name like “Opium” could be considered scandalous?). There are also flash-forward scenes to Yves’ later life, Yves then played by Helmut Berger, focusing on the time when Yves and Pierre sold the company in 1993.
|Helmut Berger as Yves in his later years, played so well and believably!|
|Great shot of Yves with his muses. Is that a vintage Van Cleef & Arpels pendant on Betty (right) I spy?|
|Love this pic of a sultry Léa Seydoux as Loulou de la Falaise, with Yves in the background.|
There is considerable champagne swilling as well as drug taking and sex in the movie, which makes clear that Yves was having quite a time living a dual life as a hardworking and very successful fashion designer during the day and a completely out-of-control hedonist at night, with the handsome troublemaker Jacques de Bascher (Louis Garrel) leading Yves into temptation and dangerous drug use at every opportunity. de Bascher was also a lover of Karl Lagerfeld in the 1970s.
|Louis Garrel as the foxy and seductive Jacques de Bascher, here seeing Yves for the first time at a disco.|
I found the film visually gorgeous, as awash in color as Yves would want it to be! Two of my favorite scenes are at the beginning and end of the movie. The beginning shows the ladies of the atelier sewing the toiles to show Yves and they are such detailed scenes, right down to the stitching, it is like watching a part of 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, the second half of a two-part documentary on Yves I reviewed in 2011.
|The ladies of the workroom perfecting the toiles for Yves to see. Absolutely true to life!|
The other scene I really loved was the fashion show at the end, featuring Yves’ landmark collection from the Fall/Winter of 1976 called “Opéras and Ballets Russes.” The clothes in that scene are stunning—intense jewel-toned colors with flashes of shimmering gold lamé. I loved them all!
|The fashion show at the end is a delight of color and glamour. One of my favorite scenes in the film!|
If you are a fan of fashion history or Yves Saint Laurent I highly recommend the film. I will warn you there is full frontal male nudity and a fair amount of gay eroticism so if that makes you uncomfortable Saint Laurent may not be a film about Yves you want to see. If that’s the case then I would recommend Yves Saint Laurent, which is a two-part documentary, one part is called Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times, with terrific interviews with him and about him, and the second part is 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, mentioned above, which focuses on him and his atelier at work.
|Love that the filmmakers spent time showing the amazing collection of objects Yves and Pierre built.|
There is a great article over at the LA Times about the creation of the film and about how the filmmakers and costume designer, Anaïs Romand, had NO access to the official archives of Yves Saint Laurent when making the movie, in large part because Pierre Bergé was supporting the production of a different film about Yves. Ms. Romand had to recreate the clothes used for the fashion shows in the film with the help of a private collector of Saint Laurent’s work, as well as her own ideas about it, which makes her costume achievement all the more stunning!
|The movie poster.|
Let me know if you saw Saint Laurent and if so, what you thought of it!