TEXT TANIA FAROUKI
July 22nd, 2014. It’s only been a month since Yves Saint Laurent (directed by Jalil Lespert) opened in US theaters, and yet another biopic trailer about the venerated designer has just been unveiled.
Having competed in this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Saint Laurent, directed by Bertrand Bonello, is another attempt at portraying one of the 20th century’s most revered icons. Although this project is technically unofficial—it hasn’t been given access to the archives and Pierre Bergé wasn’t an avid supporter, unlike with the first film mentioned above—the star-studded cast of SL might give YSL a run for its money: Gaspard Ulliel (the face of Chanel’s Bleu fragrance) takes on the role of the protagonist, while award-winning actor Jérémie Renier plays Bergé, Yves’ partner.
The rest of the designer’s tribe includes Léa Seydoux as accessories designer and muse Loulou de la Falaise, model Aymeline Valade as muse Betty Catroux, Louis Garrel as Jacques de Bascher (lover of Yves and former lover of Karl), Amira Casar as long-time studio director Anne-Marie Muñoz, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (Carla Bruni’s sister) as client Madame Duzer, and a surprise appearance by Helmut Berger (known for his roles on Dynasty, The Godfather Part III and partner Luchino Visconti’s films), who plays the designer in later life.
Whether you choose to remain neutral or pick a side, the above trailer looks pretty epic and so far seems to have managed just fine without cooperating wih the house itself, now presided over by Hedi Slimane. At least we get tidbits of the making of legendary ready-to-wear and haute couture pieces, from Le Smoking to the sumptuous 1976 Russian Collection.
In the trailer, Ulliel portrays a handsome and charismatic character living a fast life and dealing with success while staying true to his identity, defying fashion’s expectations (being told, in French, “You may complain, but you dress the entire planet, my dear,” to which Ulliel replies, “Well now, I’d like to dress the planet differently”), coping with a tumulthous love triangle and endless exotic nights while battling his illness (“Sometimes I close my eyes and when I open them, I only see heavy and dark things”).
It’s hard to imagine such a revolutionary talent being beaten down by his own demons (“I would like to stop. But I can’t”) and Saint Laurent looks to attempt to portray this inevitably humanizing aspect of a brand’s beginning stags. Perhaps the designer’s work may be put into a single line, said at the end of this trailer: “I’ve eliminated competition. That’s my drama.”