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Friday, May 20, 2011

DC FASHION FILM DEBUT: L'Amour Fou, YSL is Unveiled

Yves Saint Laurent had the most amazing smile. At least in the early years, he smiled a lot. But as life moved on, he grew increasingly depressed and very unhappy. The reason is a mystery, except that he and his muse, Betty Catroux believed that they were born depressed.

I have seen a few documentaries on YSL, but this one was very different. It was very personal and incredibly intimate. The story is from the perspective of his lifelong parter, Pierre Bergé, the man with whom YSL shared four decades of his life and love. Directed by Pierre Thoretton, this stirring movie flashes through pictures and runway shows and telltale stories by the ones who knew him and loved him best.

The public life of Yves Saint Laurent was as extravagant as it was decadent. As a design prodigy, he took over designing for the house of Christian Dior at age 21, and then the grand couturier of a fashion empire. But there was a sadness that encapsulated this film. It is framed around the 2009 auction of the fabulous, priceless art collection amassed by Laurent and Bergé over several decades (including works by Brancusi, Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Mondrian). I understand wanting to not hold on to so many memories when your loved one dies. But their collection was phenomenal. I would've kept a few pieces for sentimental reasons. But Bergé sold almost everything during the Christie's auction. I watched the auctioneer call out figures and I felt a sense of loss. You have to watch to understand what I mean. They had fabulous houses, especially the one in Marrakesh, embellished with the most unique treasures the art world has ever seen.

The film does provide an unprecedented look at the life of a mythic personality, whose personal life matched his public for elegance, extravagance and passion. L'Amour Fou is a must see for fans of documentary film and fashion die-hards alike. Appearances by Betty Catroux, Loulou de la Falaise, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger and Catherine Deneuve. (Fully subtitled)

For more information, visit Sundance Selects. Opens today at E. Street Cinema.