Published in The F:
By Aleczander Gamboa.
One of two biopics that depicts the accomplishments and downfalls of acclaimed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, Jalil Laspert’s version is as compelling as it is impeccably stylish both in cinematography and plot progression.
The film opens in the tranquil autumn of 1957. Under the observing gaze of a young man with black framed glasses, graceful hands wrap a black silk belt under a model’s midriff. Though Yves is quiet, shy and reserved, it is the creative flair in his designs that speaks major volumes – his unique collections giving popular rise to haute couture and clothing that challenged gender norms.
When he meets his lover Pierre Berge and creates his own fashion house after being fired from Dior, Yves embarks on his own journey of self-discovery as his fashion label soars to incredible heights and he garners immediate success and acclaim from critics all around the world, with many unsuccessfully attempting to copy his distinctive sense of style that made him an icon in the fashion industry.
His life story is compelling as it is perplexing, especially when his ambition begins to take its toll as he falls prey to a life full of fame, sex and drugs. Pierre is the only person keeping him whole, and it is only with his help and his alone that Yves is able to regain his footing and continue his collections. The film ends just the way it began with Yves drawing his next designs, and the audience is left with a feeling of nostalgia after witnessing an evolutionary fashion era as well as the life and death of an iconic genius.
It’s important to take note of Laspert’s skills as a director – the cinematography is absolutely mesmerising, the warm lighting providing an elegant and luxurious ambience as it contrasts perfectly with the darker moments in Yves’ life. Some could even say that there is a symbolic message in the cinematography itself – success is beautiful and glamorous, but as always there is a subliminal dark side that will tear your soul apart if you are not careful.
With stunning visuals and a melodic soundtrack, the film pays excellent homage to Yves Saint Laurent’s supreme creations. Despite his downfalls, we as the audience still cannot help but be inspired by his brilliance as we witness his rise to early fame and beyond.
Yves Saint Laurent opens in cinemas nationally on June 26.