6 hours ago
Monday, 28 April 2014
Film: 'YVES SAINT LAURENT'
I knew next to nothing of the person behind the universally-recognised name in the world of fashion so, gleaning from some reviews of this film (none of which seemed to be positively glowing with praise - at least the ones I read) it was largely an education for me.
Pierre Niney plays the bespectacled eponymous role, a spoilt kid with a short fuse from the very start. Guillaume Gallienne is his lover/assistant-cum-manager who, for me, had much more on-screen magnetism than Niney. This created a void at the film's heart which I felt - the question as to why so many, male and female alike, found YSL so fascinating and, indeed, attractive? Surely not just because of his rapidly-acquired wealth? Can only have been his artistic talent, then.
The pair of them get hitched up very near the beginning and from there on it's a chain of tiffs and fights, some of it physical, arising from their jealousies and infidelities (both sides).
It took me a bit aback to see it, but I suppose the very matter-of-fact acceptance of homosexuality in that milieu in late 1950s/60s Paris would be well documented. Apart from YSL relating how he was beaten up over being gay (which we don't see) and which contributed to his emotional fragility and volatility, there is no open hostility to him for that reason in the fashion world he inhabits. In fact there seems to be an all-pervading air of poly-sexuality!
We see some of his fashion shows, given with sumptuosity and flair. For me these were actually more interesting and watchable than the story of his life. Paris itself, and the Ile Saint-Louis in particular, looks lovely.
Btw: Though knowing hardly anything about fashion myself I do like to watch designers in action - as in the TV shows of Gok Wan, Trinny and Susannah (alas, gone from our TV screens) - and, oh, how I miss 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'! It's the utter confidence displayed in decisions that just floors me every time, not giving a fig as to what others think. Especially with 'Queer Eye', I was just amazed at the certitude of their opinions while they were yet so young. I wouldn't have had the guts to openly disagree! There's a touch of that particular aspect in this film too. But I digress. (A bit of daydreaming!)
I reckon that YSL delivers what it was intended to but I shouldn't imagine it will be active in my memory for very long. But I never really got bored - I was just waiting for the next fashion show............5.5