Review: Yves Saint Laurent

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Yves Saint Laurent

When you hear phrases such as Le Smoking, Touche Eclat, Opium, Rives Gauche, the first designer to use a black model in his catwalk shows it evokes one symbol: YSL or to give him his full name: Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent but known to all as Yves Saint Laurent.

This is the first film biopic to be released about his life with the full support and participation of his business partner and at the time of death his civil partner Pierre Bergé.

Therein lies the problem with the biopic, whilst beautifully shot with exquisite shots of Parisian and Moroccan interiors, clothes and wonderful soundtrack it feels all very carefully managed. It could be said as carefully managed as YSL was by Pierre Bergé when he was alive so much so that we have Pierre narrating his version of YSL that he wants to show the world. Of course there are the obligatory falls from grace: the drug taking and the stay in a psychiatric hospital as well as the amazing highs of being appointed the youngest artistic director of a Couture House, Dior, at 21 and creating his own label with Pierre at 26.

Whilst Guillaume Gallienne as YSL and Pierre Niney as Pierre Bergé are both excellent in their roles. This film feels like the annotated version of YSL’s life and there are many gaps and periods of time that are simply erased which is a shame. In my opinion, in this film the character of YSL comes across as indecisive and lost most of the time and for all his stage management the character of Pierre Bergé comes across as possessive and controlling.

If you are a fan of Yves Saint Laurent
then this is certainly a beautiful film to go and see but do not expect to gain any greater understanding of his artistic genius or the man that he was.

Out on DVD 14th July.

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