A sumptuous biopic about the French designer
When we were invited to a preview of the new French language film about the life of Yves Saint Laurant at The Odeon Printworks, who better to check it out for us than personal stylist Susan Baxter (Susan Styles You).
Over to you Susan ……
When I was asked to review the new Yves Saint Laurent biopic by 4Manchester Women I obviously jumped at the chance!
A much anticipated film which as an avid fashionista was right up my street.
I must start by saying that Pierre Niney was spookily like Yves Saint Laurent in every way and managed to capture his gestures, mannerisms etc. to a fine art.
The film spans two decades, beginning in 1958. I was totally in awe of the way his character aged throughout the film – it was like magic.
Passionate, sumptuous and volatile
So, of course this film was about fashion, but it is more a portrayal of both the tender and passionate and volatile relationship between Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge.
This film is decadent, captivating, sumptuous, hedonistic, colourful, seedy, touching, heartbreakingly sad, indulgent and much, much more.
Filmed in Paris and Marrakesh, the cinematography is visually breathtaking. From the elegant interiors of Yves and Pierre’s Parisian apartments, to the bohemian Moroccan lifestyle they enjoyed with the likes of Loulou de la Falaise and Karl Lagerfeld.
It was an absolute joy to take in the scenery, the colours, the culture. One minute on a flower filled balcony overlooking Notre Dame, next in the cacophony of pink bougainvillea, water lilies and cacti, and the bright cobalt blue walls of his Moroccan villa, you could almost touch it. Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and the sensuality of Morocco at the time.
Successes and struggles
In the early years, we see Yves Saint Laurent as vulnerable, shy and inexperienced. We journey through his life as he develops and blossoms in his career, and through his battles with alcohol, drugs and infidelity.
It becomes really dark as he struggles with depression and the pressure to develop two collections a year. Be warned! This is definitely not a film for the faint hearted as this contains full on raw sex scenes! Then as he ages, we observe his health declining as he becomes frail and weak.
There are too many to mention, but the iconic pop art inspired Mondrian dress is awesome with eye poppingly bright colours.
Then, the one that left me a gibbering wreck was his last catwalk, the Russian ballet collection in 1976 was truly stunning!
I just swooned at every outfit that appeared. It was an amazing collection.
It was more like theatre than a catwalk and the music by Ibrahim Maaloouf gave a very strong impression. The model they used for the wedding dress was so beautiful and it was indeed a very emotional moment for me.
Creating iconic fashion through the decades
I loved the way the film seamlessly (see what I did there) flows from 1950s ladylike fashion, through 1960s revolutionary mini skirts, then the opulence of 1970s fashion and, of course, the legendary ‘Le Smoking’ of which Yves Saint Laurent was quoted as saying “A woman in a pant suit is not masculine at all … a severe and implacable cut only emphasises her femininity, her seductiveness all the more.”
Director, Jalil Lespert’s admiration for Saint Laurent’s art is tangible: “I am very touched by his vision; the very modern vision he had of women, of a free woman, while being aware and understanding her femininity and her power of seduction.”
Actor Guillaume Gallienne who played his business partner and lover, Pierre Berget said:
“It’s the first time in my life I have been moved by a dress, you come out of the film realising that art is not only in museums; that is what Yves would be happiest with if he was able to see this. He brought art to the streets because he decided that women should be masterpieces; they could be a Mondrian, they could be Picassos, they could be avant-garde Ballets Russes beauties. That’s his gift.”
In summary, this film is excellent – a must see film for all Yves Saint Laurent fans, fashionistas and culture vultures alike. Just remember your tissues.
Yves Saint Laurent is now on general release. For more information and to book tickets click here.
You can find Susan at susanstylesyou.com