15 March 2014 by

Karl Lagerfeld Thought The Yves Saint Laurent Film Was 'Acceptable!' We Speak To The Director & Cast

We do love a fashion flick here at Grazia Daily, and seeing as Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour and Bill Cunningham have all been done, it was only a matter of time before the one and only Yves Saint Laurent hit the big screen. The film, entitled 'Yves Saint Laurent' and directed by Jalil Lespert, dwells on the darker side of the designer, focusing on his turbulent relationship over 30 years with his business partner and lover Pierre Berge. If you like a Smoking tuxedo, dreamy shots of Paris and a subtitled French flick then pencil in your diaries that it hits UK cinemas on 21st March. We sat down with the director, Jail Lespert, and the leads Pierre Niney (who plays Yves) and Guillaume (who plays Pierre) to find out what it was like to tell the story of the Yves Saint Laurent. Here is what we found out from our chat with the trio...

1. To prepare for the role of Yves, Pierre Niney learnt how to be a designer...

Pierre Niney, who playes Yves, said: 'The director wanted me to draw for real in the movie. Then a stylist taught me how to recognise materials, how to touch them and how to move them around. The idea was to feel confident in a fashion house. To understand how it works and have the right vocabulary, as I knew Jalil Lespert was very instinctive and we had to be prepared to do anything on set.'

2. On choosing to focus on the darker side of the designer...

The director, Jalil Lespert said: 'Unfortunately I had to make a choice, so I neglected the creative aspect of his work. I tried to give a good account of the spirit of Saint Laurent, but couldn’t go into the details. I focused on his energy to create and what caused it. Because he was so ill, he had no choice but to create - this was what I was interested in .'

3. Karl Lagerfeld thinks the Karl in the film is 'acceptable'...

We had to ask the leads if Karl Lagerfeld has watched the film, and it turns out he had! He said said that the actor who played Karl was 'acceptable,' which as Pierre points out is a big compliment from the Lagerfeld.

4. On having the real Pierre Berge's approval...

Jalil Lespert said: 'I didn’t work with him. But from the moment that he gave us his trust it opened up the Yves Saint Laurent house. So it was more than an opportunity, but a chance to be able to have access to the preservation group looking after all of these costumes, so we could be able to use those dresses that have been kept aside as museum pieces. Also it was important to be able to work with people who have worked with Yves Saint Laurent.'

5. Was Guillaume in contact with the real Pierre Berge

Guillaume who plays Pierre Berge said: ''My parents and he have friends in common. I met him when I was a teenager, but I wasn’t too keen on seeing him before the shooting. I didn’t want to. People know him today but people in France don’t really know what he looked like between 56 and 76. What inspired me a lot to play him and perform the character were the letters he wrote to Yves after Yves Saint Laurent’s death.'

6. On being moved by a dress...

Guillaume said that shooting the film 'was the first time in my life that I was moved by a dress.' So which did he find the most moving collection in the film? 'The Mondrian, because I loved the idea of showing how much Yves Saint Laurent was a genius at transmitting art - putting art on women and making them look like masterpieces. I also love the Ballett Russess collection at the end of the film, because I think the collection is the most beautiful thing on earth.'

7. Pierre was ashtonished when he saw the Mondrian dress up close...

Pierre said: 'Actually I was pretty surprised and astonished by the Mondrian dress when I saw it on the set because that was the first time I saw the real dress, the archive dress. It’s really modern and really pop, rebellious and strong at the same time.'

8. Yves Saint Laurent WAS Paris...

Guillaume commented: 'They never got imprisoned by the clichés. They had Paris at their feet even before they created the empire. They were free. Their audacity was beyond the illness and the fact that Yves was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of 25.'

9. On Yves Saint Laurent's vices...

Pierre said: 'The fact that he was a really smart person, that was the reason he was reading things with that really sharp eye. That’s why everything was really violent and tough for him. That was the really sad thing about him, but at the same time it’s where all of that inspiration came from.' While Guillaume added: 'He was very much a poet. This is why he didn’t pay for things, it wasn’t out of snobbery. It’s just falling in love with a masterpiece at an antique shop and suddenly having to take the cheque book out was so vulgar to him, compared to the emotion that he was feeling. It was just like "send the bill but let’s not talk about that shall we?"’ 

10. The director did his research like a 'frustrated journalist'...

Jalil told us: 'I didn’t know much about him apart from the impact he had on fashion obviously. He was a really shy boy. So I did the work like an archaeologist digging or like the frustrated journalist that I may be, delving deep finding sources, reading and then cutting and re-cutting all the things. I was trying to be as precise as I could covering these 30 years and accurately showing the way that fashion evolved in those years.'


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Francesco Sinibaldi (Sat Mar 15 12:56:49 GMT 2014): Source of memories. Flying over the country a little emotion returns in my mind with a delicate sound. Francesco Sinibaldi