Seen: Yves Saint Laurent No 1

Yves Saint Laurent Films

A few weeks ago I finally saw Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert with upcoming star Pierre Niney in the titular role. It was the production design that blew me away most, but more about that later.

The film is a classic biopic that doesn’t seem to fully know what it wants to be; a fashion documentary, a gay love story or a drug drama. But that way we get to watch an entertaining chronological summary of the first 20 years of Saint Laurent’s great career and the times he didn’t just live in but also happened to shape.

Apparently, just one YSL wasn’t enough for the French as there’ll be another film about the iconic fashion designer called Saint Laurent out soon, this time with Gaspard Ulliel as the main star. And just recently, the first (French-language) trailer has been released:

If you want to believe the critics, this version by director Bertrand Bonello is a lot less innocent and conventional than Lespert’s film, which was either the consequence of or the cause for the fact that unlike Lespert, Bonello didn’t get the blessing of Saint Laurent’s long-time partner Pierre Bergé for his film.

Which takes us back to the production design: What I loved most about Yves Saint Laurent No 1 (besides Nikolai Kinski as young Karl Lagerfeld maybe) was that thanks to Bergé Lespert could use the original locations and fashion – the glamourous flats in Paris, the villa with its famous garden in Morocco or the most iconic designs by Saint Laurent. Knowing that you’re looking at the originals gives Yves Saint Laurent a whole other presence in the film.
I’m admittedly not sure which scenes were shot in which ones of the Parisian flats, whether at Place Vauban, in Rue de Babylone or Rue Bonaparte where Bergé used to live. Maybe I should treat myself to the book The Private World of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé or watch L’amour fou, the documentary about the auction of the incredible art collection of Saint Laurent and Bergé:

But: Even if Saint Laurent No 2 happens to lack this original backdrop, I’m still very much looking forward to the film; even if it’s just for a different, less compliant perspective onto this complex, difficult genius that was Yves Saint Laurent.



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