Yves Saint Laurent: fashions fade, style is eternal

A look in the life of French designer is coming on the big screen.

This year is for sure the biopic year on the big screen.

It’s out now The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the story of the American stockbroker, Jordon Ross Belfort with Leonardo Di Caprio.

Also coming is Ralph Fiennes‘ biopic on Charles Dickens,  The Invisible Woman (here our review). Based on Claire Tomalin‘s 1990 biography of the same name, the movie has  Ralph Fiennes as Dickens and  Felicity Jones as his mistress Nelly.

Felicity Jones will be also in Stephen Hawking’s biopic Theory of Everything alongside to Eddie Redmayne.

In few months, in May to be exact  Cannes Film Festival will open with Grace of Monaco (here the trailer), on the painful transition of Hollywood star Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman).

But, for now, at the Berlin Film Festival, was the biopic on French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (here the trailer) to do to talk about itself.

This movie is a look at the life of French designer, from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé.

While Saint Laurent was regarded as one of the greatest names in fashion history, Bergé was the numbers man.

Laurent gave women their first tuxedo. He began his career by becoming the assistant to Christian Dior (from 1957 to 1976, the year of his legendary Opéra-Ballets russes collection) later taking over the empire after Dior death. It was only later that Bergé and Laurent created their own brand and firm, Yves Saint Laurent.

This movie has received the official blessing of Pierre Bergé, now 82.

Directed by French actor turned director Jalil Lespert, and based on Laurence Benaim’s biography, the movie begins with Laurent’s death in 2008 and travels on a flashback mode with the young man leaving the land of his birth, Oran, French Algeria (where also Lesper’s parents are from), to arrive in Paris.

Bergé cooperated with Lespert, parting with Laurent’s original sketches and even his glasses.

Yves Saint Laurent (Pierre Niney) took over from his mentor, Christian Dior when he was only 21. He’d become a recluse, suffering from manic-depressive spells  dependent on alcohol and drugs.

It’s Bergé (played by Guillaume Gallienne) that  provide a voice-over narration, though he wasn’t  present in  the beginning of designer’s life.

The movie traces Laurent’s quick ascent to the top of Dior, his subsequent mental breakdown after he’s been drafted  for the Algerian War, Dior’s decision to let him go and his and Bergé’s efforts to raise the funds needed to set up their own couture house, which would quickly become successful. And the subsequent strain put on Saint Laurent by having to design two couture and two pret-a-porter collections a year.

The relationship between Laurent and Bergé culminates in a very strong scene in their bathroom at night in which the designer, destroyed by alcohol and drug use, confesses in tears that he really does love his dandy new boyfriend, Jacques (Xavier Lafitte) but that Bergé will always remain the love of his life.

This era of excesses in alcohol and drugs coincides with his Moroccan period, when they spent a lot of time in their house in Marrakech, with the stylish cinematography and production design suddenly infused with wilder colors.

Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent would continue their business relationship until Yves’s death, though they split as a couple in the 1970s.

The film looks stylish and glamour with amazing shots of Paris bridges and of the Seine by moonlight.

Pierre Niney, with Yves Saint Laurent own glasses and a nose implant to perfect the illusion is so perfect that seems that Laurent’s alive dog, on set, was certain to had found his master. And Le Figaro wrote that Niney “captures to perfection Saint Laurent’s mixture of angst-ridden shyness whose kindness is tinged with ‘noirceur’ (darkness)”.

The movie project started in March 2013 when The Weinstein Company acquired the rights to the film to distribute in the United States.

Principal photography began in June 2013. Most of the filming was done with Bergé, who sent out models on the runway for a reconstitution of Saint Laurent’s famous Opéra Ballets Russes collection of 1976. The scene was filmed at the fashions show’s original venue, the Westin Hotel (better known as the InterContinental). Bergé’s -Laurent foundation (created to “prolong the history of the House of Saint Laurent”, while conserving a collection of 20,000 haute couture designs, accessories and sketches “that bear witness to 40 years of Yves Saint Laurent’s creativity”) allowed Lespert to film certain scenes at its headquarters on Avenue Marceau in Paris.

Yves Saint Laurent will be released on February 25th in UK at the Glasgow Film Festival and on March 21 it will be in Uk cinemas.

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Apparently, however, this will not be the only film on YSL release next year.

The second one (Bergé has sworn to do everything in his power to ban it) called Yves is directed by Bertrand Bonello.

It has been backed by head of Kering (formerly known as PPR)  the conglomerate that owns Saint Laurent, Francois-Henri Pinault, who has given consent for the fashion house’s logo and designs to be used.

Bergé wrote on Twitter: “Two films on YSL? I hold the moral rights in the work of YSL’s image and mine have authorized that of Jalil Lespert”.

Bonello’s movie sees Chanel model Gaspard Ulliel cast as the leading role opposite actress Lea Seydoux.

According to The Telegraph, Bonello’s team wrote to Bergé explaining that they had not sought his blessing because they wanted true “freedom of expression”.

Yves’ scriptwriter Thomas Bidegain said: “Bergé’s role, even when Saint Laurent was alive, has been: ‘I tell the story,’Saint Laurent had a very complicated life and Bergé always managed the legend. That’s why he couldn’t take being dispossessed of that story”.

Also this productions, as the other one is expected to focus on the early life of the designer and his relationship with Bergé.

Which of the two will be the most loved by audiences and critics?

“The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven’t had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there”.  Yves Saint-Laurent

 

 

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