Saint Laurent: A fashion icon comes to the big screen


Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent

An acclaimed French biopic of iconic gay fashion superstar Yves Saint Laurent débuts on the big screen in South Africa this month.

Set between 1967 and 1976, Saint Laurent covers the designer’s life during the peak of his remarkable and ground-breaking career.

Co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello, and staring Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, the film also highlights two of Saint Laurent’s love affairs; with Pierre Bergé, played by Jérémie Régnier, and with Jacques de Bascher, played by Louis Garrel.

Bonello said that he chose to make the film because he was “drawn to the cinematic possibilities linked to the extravagant and decadent aspects” of Saint Laurent’s life.

The director was also fascinated with the fact that the designer’s story was different from many other biographies in that he did not achieve success from a difficult or working class background.

“Saint Laurent… was surrounded from birth by the love of his mothers and sisters; his family was wealthy; age 17, he won first prize in a competition; at 20, he was a star at Dior; at 22, he had his own brand; at 25, he was a celebrity worldwide,” explained Bonello.

The film competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. In January, it received ten César Award (France’s Academy Awards) nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. It also received five nominations at the 20th Lumières Awards, winning Best Actor for Ulliel.

A beautifully crafted and stylish film, Saint Laurent explores all the decadence, excesses and madness accompanying Saint Laurent’s meteoric rise to global fame.

It opens in South Africa on Friday 17 April. Check out the trailer below.

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