Yves Saint Laurent: You know, I’m not that nice.
Who knew that a world of high fashion, hard drugs and general extravagance could be so dull, so drab, so devoid of colour and life? Famed fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, started under Christian Dior, partied with Karl Lagerfield and was constantly surrounded by beautiful models and yet here, director Jalil Lespert presents the icon as a nuisance of sorts, a feeble man with very little regard for anyone other than himself. And while this may be very true of the man himself for all I know, it does not excuse the aimless, whiney journey that is YVES SAINT LAURENT.
We are introduced to Saint-Laurent when he is just 21 and we follow him for about 20 years as he becomes one of the world’s most well renowned fashion designers. He is played by Pierre Niney, who gives him a quiet anxiousness that seems to almost collapse his frame in retreat from the world around him. Niney grows with the character as he learns to get out of his shell more with time. What comes out though is fairly vile most of the time and directed at those around him but these are the allowances made to accommodate genius. Still, his outbursts, attributed rather simply to his not having had a real childhood, are reasonably reserved, which maintains the film’s safe tone throughout.
The real trouble with YVES SAINT LAURENT is that we don’t get to know YSL really at all while watching. Lespert touches on his manic depression, his relationship with his mother and goes into great detail about his long term relationship with Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne) and his struggle with addiction but yet the man himself remains a total mystery. An artist of his calibre deserved better than this.
How many sheep would you give Yves Saint-Laurent?