Anyone looking for simple fashion porn, beware: Yves Saint Laurent is so much more than your average fashion biopic. Yes, there’s the couture; the inspiring moments of creation. But there’s also the gritty reality that underlies the work of a genius. Infidelity, depression, addiction – the world of YSL was so much more than the designs. And it’s all told with just the right level of respect in this wonderful film by French director Jalil Lespert.
The film takes us from the designer’s beginnings in Paris in 1957, when a 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent took the helm at the house of Dior following the death of Christian Dior. He meets his future lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé, who from that point on continues as the designer’s biggest supporter throughout his work and life and helps get YSL’s own fashion house off the ground. The film follows the designer as he shakes up the world of fashion, through the 1960s and 70s, while battling his personal demons, until his death in 2008, and features some of the original clothing from the YSL haute couture archives.
The highlight, however, is the film’s star, Pierre Niney – a perfect Yves, and his co-star Guillaume Gallienne, who together gave a convincing portrayal of a mutually devoted couple battling their jealousies and demons while maintaining a true love for one another.
Yves Saint Laurent is released in selected cinemas from March 21.