Last Friday I went to see the Yves Saint Laurent film after school. It was in French (I am in France, after all), and I don’t actually know if it has been (or will be) released in other countries. Therefore, I shall give you a brief plot summary before launching into an obsessive rant about the dresses/beautiful things. It is a biography drama that takes place between Saint Laurent’s time as Dior’s apprentice and the creation of his independent fashion house. It touches on his tumultuous relationship with his business partner/boyfriend Pierre (essentially a great deal of saucy scenes/rapid French), unstable mental health, and drug problems. All quite saddening, but despite his numerous problems, he was still able to create many lovely dresses. So many lovely dresses, in fact, that he revolutionized the rules of fashion, redefining the way a woman should (or could for that matter) dress. I wish that my issues would magically transform themselves into high-end, flippant dresses. Sadly they have yet to do this.
But ok the dresses. The dresses. They were crisp, groundbreaking, rosy, creased, and careless. They were hypnotic, silly, precise, but above all, complexly simple. He had an eye for clarity; his work was so uncomplicated yet captivating. There was this one scene where he took a strip of satin, wrapped it around his model’s waist in a very artistic and exquisite manner, and everyone was like ooooh yes all praise Yves we adore him bow down he is our king go Yves (myself included). He literally just wrapped some fabric around her body, but it was somehow so wonderful and beautiful. I do not understand.
Another scene I adored was when he found the inspiration for his famed Mondrian dress (pictured below).
He was sitting in his apartment, sketching, when he suddenly rose, haphazardly rumaged through his bookshelf and found a book on Mondrian’s artwork. The scene then shifted to a photo shoot of two models posing confidently in similar boxy, geometric color-block dresses. There was something about their self-assuredness that implied a shift. Saint Laurent was done creating dresses for the reserved, straight-faced woman his previous models all had resembled/represented. The year was 1965 and that woman no longer existed. Feminism was emerging and women’s voices were finally being heard. They were no longer dressing for men but rather for themselves. His new customer/muse was confident, dimpled, and independent. She was happy.
I’d like to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Yves Saint Laurent and a drawing he made for Vogue that maps out his favorite things. I will probably end up making one of these for myself sometime in the near future because it is just so delightful. Turns out we both love to say silly things, carpets, and the letter Y.
“Genius is childhood recovered.”
“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”
“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.”
“Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?”
“I love bows.”
and my personal favorite:
“I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.”
XO, The Girl in the Little Black Dress
Sidenote: Been feeling even more feminist lately. I now need to go write a feminist essay about Ophelia in Hamlet. Women for the win.
All photos from Polyvore. I take no credit.