Fashion Movie Club: Yves Saint Laurent

Get your bucket of buttery popcorn ready for another fashion biopic that’s sure to to set the hearts of fashion aficionados aflutter. Yves Saint Laurent is a French movie directed by Jalil Lespert and starring Pierre Niney, who is striking in his likeness to the legendary designer. It tells the story of the designer’s rise among the ranks of French fashion houses while battling his inner demons, accompanied at all times by the steady hand of his  business and life partner, Pierre Bergé.

The film premiered in Paris in December 2013 and opened to wider audiences in January 2014. Check out the trailer below!

Bergé was actually pivotal in the production of this movie by giving the filmmaker access to the YSL archives and headquarters. So this looks to be the Year of the Yves, because there’s actually another YSL movie (not co-signed by Bergé) slated to come out in May 2014. Both these movies follow a fairly new wave of documentaries and dramatic biographical narratives about the biggest movers and shakers in haute couture. Last year, the rumor mill was stirred by news of a Balenciaga biopic in the works; in 2009, moviegoers were treated to a pair of films about the life of Coco Chanel.

First there was the Coco Before Chanel, starring cinema darling Audrey Tautou in the title role. This movie chronicles Chanel and the great loves of her life: fashion, and the men who helped transform her name into an empire.

After the release of Coco Before Chanel, we also saw the romantic melodrama Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, based on a book which dramatized the alleged affair that Chanel had with the Russian composer.

Both these movies are visually engrossing (as all fashion biopics should be at their cores), because we end up watching a re-imagining of the people and spaces that inspired Chanel’s work. But while movies are a form of escapism with some leeway for artistic license, I think fashion documentaries are capable of more honesty and are equally — if not more! — intriguing as well, with my personal favorites being the ones about fashion magazines and editors.

One of my recent favorite watches is the HBO-produced In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, which is basically a compilation of interviews with Vogue fashion editors of past and present, including Babs Simpson, Polly Mellen, Tonne Goodman, and Grace Coddington.

The September Issue is also compulsory viewing for anyone who thinks Editors-in-Chief have it easy: this is an intimate look at the daily preparations done for the mammoth September issue of Vogue through the eyes of Anna Wintour.

Next up on my must-watch list are the documentaries about Diana Vreeland and Valentino Garavani (and the YSL movies too, naturally). Is there a movie about fashion that you can’t get enough raving about?  Is it The Devil Wears Prada? Is it Funny Face? Let us know about it, and maybe we’ll spotlight it in the next instalment of Fashion Movie Club ;)