“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
When you hear the name Yves Saint Laurent what immediately comes to mind is his mastery as a fashion designer. Born, arguably before his time, Laurent is a legend who ushered in a new era of fashion and culture – from introducing the tuxedo suit for women and mixing the runway with diverse faces to mastering haute couture and elevating prét-â-porter. But as amazing as his design technique was, he lived the cliche life of a tortured artist.
In the French film Saint Laurent, from Bertrand Bonello, his life is explored from a young aristocrat to a veteran designer. The biopic centers, however, on his tumultuous life as a young designer rising to fame, becoming addicted to drugs, and his involvement in what can be called dysfunctional relationships.
“Saint Laurent” is an excellent foray into the world of a genius teetering on madness. While watching the film, it’s hard not to draw a connection between the art and the chaos that ensued while the art was being created. Unlike other fashion biopics that limit their efforts to painting a pretty picture of their subjects, this film gives us an intimate view at the designer’s struggles and exposes a side of Laurent that is almost too raw to be believable.
But just when their is doubt, the solid acting draws you into the characters. French actor Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising), who portrays Laurent, is intensely connected to the role. It is difficult not to watch the film as if you’re watching a 70’s reality series featuring the eponymous designer and at times wanting to shield him, if not shake him. It’s a film that fashion enthusiast should definitely put on their radar.
The film is in theaters now in select cities.