Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent has finally premiered in Montreal this past week. The much anticipated biography drama focuses on the beginning of the designer’s career in 1958 and his ever so tumultuous relationship with business partner and former lover Pierre Berge.
Berge himself declared that Pierre Niney, the actor who portrayed the legendary designer, performed perfectly. From studying sewing and design to analyzing interviews of the late designer, the actor sifted through the archives at the Foundation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent until he felt he could bring the man himself back to life on the big screen. “This is a story about how you love – and live with – a genius.” Rightfully so, Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized fashion with an unrivaled passion.
He is credited with the creation of the popular trouser suit for women, a staple YSL still continues with the more modern addition of a women’s tuxedo jacket and classic collared shirts. Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking was a contemporary alternative to stuffy cocktail attire, but it was not the first burst of inspirational couture to be displayed by the designer. The film captures a time when elite, formal fashion houses ruled Paris with haute couture. Starting with his early years working with Dior to his visually stunning Ballet Russes collection of 1976, the French film gathers a gorgeous amount of Parisian culture and style that was Saint Laurent’s extraordinary artistry. Scenes were filmed across the City of Lights and in Saint Laurent’s untouched Parisian studio to provide audiences with an authentic experience of culture and couture that could leave viewers breathless. With the help of costume designer Madeline Fontaine and countless clothes from the Foundation archives themselves (which houses over 8,00 outfits created by the designer), this film radiates regal fashion from one of the most consistently celebrated couture creators of our time.