This week saw the premiere of Yves Saint Laurent a film biopic inspired by the life of the French designer himself. The film showcases the vision of director Jalil Lespert and is backed with the firm support of Pierre Bergé: guardian of the Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent foundation, former lover, business and life partner. The film stars French comedian Pierre Niney as the visionary himself and is accompanied by a whole host of talented actors including Guillaume Gallienne as Pierre Bergé and Charlotte Le Bon as model and friend Victoire Doutreleau.
Beginning in 1950s Paris, we follow the life and times of Saint Laurent from his humble beginnings as the painfully shy yet innately talented, young designer to the top of his Haute Couture career. After entering the International Wool Secretariat, beating off rivals like Karl Lagerfeld, he won first place and was picked up by Dior at just 19. Two years later at the tender age of 21 he would take over as head designer, before opening his own fashion house with a determination to enter pret-a-porter into the fashion mainstream.
The movie transports us to a world that oozes luxury, is famed for its debauchery and makes no apology for its controversy. Yves Saint Laurent the film is more than an exposition of beautifully innovative fashion, the storyline focuses on the love affair of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, an affair that spanned more than 50 years and lasted until Yves’ death in 2008. Scenes of the two are intimate, lovingly crafted and capture the essence of the relationship, something that Bergé saw as essential when approving the film.
This production is one of two about the legend that are set to hit our screens this year. Bergé has been instrumental to the artistic vision of Lespert’s efforts, by naming it the ‘official’ production and allowing exclusive access to the YSL archives and locations for filming. The film centres around the years of the famed ‘Smoking Suit’, ‘The Opéra Ballets Russes collection’ and ‘The Mondrian Collection’ all of which were brought out of the archives to feature in this elegant motion picture.
YSL is regarded as the original feminist, the man who taught women how to dress, began to break traditional gender spheres and catapult women into the future we now relate to. Lespert’s exposition of his spectacular life credit the euphoric highs and the damning lows of Yves Saint Laurent’s personal life and career. The film is set to be more than just a fashion feast but a compelling insight into the life of a legend.
Yves Saint Laurent in cinemas now.