Saint [1997]

Genre: Short
Few would have guessed that Yves Saint Laurent idolized beatniks, and even secretly desired to become one. But already known for his impeccable taste and proper upbringing, the fashion designer was reticent to change too much from what brought him fame--haute couture. This latest DVD collection packages two documentaries, Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times and Yves Saint Laurent: 5 Avenue Marceau to give a thorough understanding of the soft-spoken designer who flourished for 40 years in the fashion industry, even when competing against fashionable upstarts such as Stella McCartney and Zac Posen. The first film concentrates on his early years while the latter focuses on the creation of his final Spring collection. While the less technically savvy film of the two (it's full of awkward editing, shaky footage, and background noise that sometimes interferes with the interviews), His Life and Times offers more content. Born in 1936, Saint Laurent had an eye for style from an early age (At age 3, he suggested his elderly great aunt change her frock, and she listened.) As a teenager, he won a fashion contest that inadvertently got him an interview with Christian Dior. By the age of 26, he opened his own house of couture. While his father never approved of his less-than-manly career choice, and never acknowledged his son's homosexuality, Saint Laurent remembers that his father's last words on his deathbed were, "Ou est Yves?" ("Where is Yves?"). Though he liked working directly with his staff, Saint Laurent had a distinct way of viewing his collections: Rather than looking directly at the models wearing his creations, he would look at their reflections in the mirror as they were walking toward it; for him, this was a more real way of seeing his clothes. Though both documentaries move at a slow pace--that matches Saint Laurent's shy and well-thought out manner of speech--they provide interesting insight on a fashion icon. --Jae-Ha Kim

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