Posts Tagged ‘ Karl Lagerfeld ’

YVES SAINT LAURENT

Yves Saint Laurent
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It is hard to envisage in a culture when the Yves Saint Laurent-YSL- brand is so recognisable and prevalent that the person who lies behind this legacy was a shy, retiring nervous young man who cowered away from the spotlight and looked as if at an early age his greatest achievement would be that of rising to the exalted position of Christian Dior’s protégé. However with the death of Dior he found himself at the centre of attention of the world’s media when he was appointed the great couturier’s successor in the House of Dior and caught up in the maelstrom of attendant publicity such a post engenders.
This biopic by Jalil Lespert goes someway to trying to decipher the man behind the myth but falls short of providing any grit whatsoever, despite the debauchery and decadence of his subject’s lifestyle, in favour of a glossy and suitably stylised version where an endless succession of beautiful people meet in beautiful surroundings swathed in beautiful clothes.
The film also focuses on the relationship between Yves (Pierre Niney) and his long time partner Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne) through its transition from passionate lovers and business partners to feuding international jetsetters with affairs on both sides threatening the rock solid ground at frequent intervals but never permanently damaging the concrete foundation. At the crux of the relationship lies the unshakeable and untenable belief that Bergé always has Yves’ best personal and business interests at heart. Thus he sees him through his early and subsequent breakdowns always dragging him from the abyss of the depression which seems to cloud his life, if not his talent.
We also see how personal highs and lows lead to creative peaks and iconic designs such as the Mondrian dresses, ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedoes and cigarette pants, Safari Jackets and his Bedouin Moroccan collection inspired by frequent trips to Marrakech with a collection of acolytes, sycophants and genuine friends, including long term muse Loulou de la Falaise.
The main downfall of the film is however also its greatest strength; that of the undeniably gorgeous surroundings and outfits. Each scene feels like a grand sumptuous opening scenario to something more rewarding but unfortunately this expectation always peters out and it becomes clear the scene vocalises more than the action and the dialogue combined. Therefore even moments like the wild parties with open sex, mounds of drugs and beautiful slinky bodies remain the stuff of buffed up pop videos with not so much as an overflowing ashtray or frayed hem to hint at any seriously real reckless abandon. It is all too oily and smooth to retain any credibility or appear believable.
Even his lifelong rivalry with Karl Lagerfeld is glossed over as being nothing more than the odd raised eyebrow or sideways disparaging glance. This being despite the fact Yves had an affair with Lagerfeld’s long term lover, Jacques de Bacher, which was also a serious threat to his relationship with Bergé.
In the end this film was a beautiful portrayal of an internationally recognised brand which will do nothing to harm either the legacy or its sales. There is another Saint Laurent biopic due to be released later this year by Bertrand Bonello which threatens to tell a more unauthorised version of his life- Lespert’s sanitised telling was sanctioned by Bergé- which may be a more interesting film although whether its portrayal will be more accurate we will probably never know.

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