6 films and documentaries inspired by the life of Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent marked his time and the history of fashion. Here is a look at the best films and documentaries inspired by the life of the couturier.

Today, the myth that radiates around Yves Saint Laurent remains intact. Filmmakers love to capture the sultry life of the French couturier, whose intimacy fascinates as much as his contribution to fashion. Vogue has chosen 6 films and documentaries to see, to better understand the wounded man behind the grandiose artist.

Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert (2014)
Jalil Lespert's “Yves Saint Laurent” traces the tumultuous life of one of France's greatest fashion designers, whose personal life and creations are intimately linked. From his appointment as head of the Dior fashion house in 1957 to the creation of his own fashion house in 1961, and his meeting with Pierre Bergé, Jalil Lespert's film attempts to shed light on the genius and complexity of the designer. His inspirations, his fittings, the Ballets Russes show in 1976... Triumphs and descent into hell are matched by the accurate and mimetic performance of Pierre Niney, who wins the César for Best Actor, overshadowing the more decadent Gaspard Ulliel, who slipped into the skin of the couturier the same year for Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent by Bertrand Bonello (2014)
Bertrand Bonello takes the Saint Laurent myth and marries it with a hint of sulphur and scandal. The director immerses his viewer in the 1970s that he idealizes and that Yves Saint Laurent dressed with a racy elegance. The biopic is about going back to that era of effervescence and madness and is also a rambling odyssey into the mind of a genius designer. In his skin, Gaspard Ulliel delivers an intense interpretation of the man intoxicated with work and who, to forget his demons, drowns in parties, drugs, and one-night stands.

Yves Saint Laurent (1994)
Shot during the summer of 1994, this is one of the first documentaries on Yves Saint Laurent, taking the viewer into the intimacy of the designer in his private residences in Paris, Marrakech, and Deauville. He was in the midst of preparing his haute couture collection. More than a man at work, the documentary magnetized by the bewitching voice of Jeanne Moreau, shows an ultra-sensitive being, in search of solitude and peace, worn down by the demons that torture him. "The contemporary woman, I invented her past, I offered her future and it will last long after my death," he confides, taking a lucid look at his life.

Yves Saint-Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau 75116 Paris (2002)
Laetitia Casta, in a cream-colored dress, with a straw hat on her head and a bouquet of lilies of the valley on her arm, walks slowly up to the podium, then turns around to embrace Yves Saint Laurent, who is acclaimed by the audience. It is January 24, 2001, the designer presents one of his last collections, the spring-summer 2001 haute couture. This touching scene closes the documentary “Yves Saint-Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau 75116 Paris” by David Teboul released in 2002. The director immersed himself in the fashion house for 60 days, a first since it was the first time that the designer accepted a film crew within its walls. An intimate testimony, closer to the myth, which tells the story of the last years of a fashion designer...

Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé: the crazy love (2010)
In 1958, Pierre Bergé met Yves Saint Laurent. Together they will live everything. The creation of the fashion house, the first successes, the fashion shows, the collections events but also the critics (we think of the collection of 1971), the descent into hell for Yves, the passing lovers ... Together, the most emblematic couple of French fashion manages to build an empire, making the name of the designer a brand known throughout the world, declining ready-to-wear, haute couture, perfumes, and cosmetics. Director Pierre Thoretton highlights the 40 years of love between the businessman and the little genius born in Oran, taking as a common thread the collection of artworks that the couple displayed in their homes since the early 60s and which Pierre parted with in 2009, as mortifying memories …

Celebration (2018)
Between 1998 and 2001, Olivier Meyrou immortalizes the last moments of Yves Saint Laurent as the head of his house. One of the last great designers still alive is increasingly silent, the look a little lost, the hesitant gait. But fashion never stops. The designer continues to create and his genius remains intact, just like his sickly shyness that his 40 years of career have not managed to mitigate. The man in the shadows, Pierre Bergé, has his eye on everything and still runs with an iron fist the Parisian fashion house that has liberated women since the early 60s. Benevolent towards the one he loves, the businessman confides, without concession, on the glorious years of the house, as well as the demons of the creator who "lives in his world from which he must not get out” while preparing the great departure, which will end in apotheosis during a grandiose parade in 2002 at the Pompidou Center. A personality apart, disturbing but touching, the director captures well in this intimate documentary where we meet characters equally inseparable from the house as Monette, Loulou de la Falaise, Betty Catroux, Mr. Jean-Pierre, and Dominique Deroche.

May 02, 2023