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"Yves Saint Laurent": A Life Well-Designed 

Wednesday, Jul 2 2014
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Jalil Lespert's drama covers several decades in the life of the famous fashion designer, though it feels more like a hang-out movie rather than a standard biopic. (That's a good thing.) In 1958 at the tender age of 21, the lanky, bespectacled workaholic Yves (Pierre Niney) becomes the new head of the House of Dior following Christian Dior's passing. He soon meets Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne), who will become Yves' lifetime business partner in the Yves Saint Laurent Company, as well as his soulmate. Pierre narrates the film in flashback, and there are some fascinating glimpses into how low-key fashion shows were back in the day, basically taking place in someone's (admittedly opulent) living room. Though there are ruffled feathers alone the way, Yves' homosexuality is taken as a matter of course, something he can get away with due to his privilege of being a well-off fashion designer. Indeed, Yves Saint Laurent is at its best when Yves indulges in all the hedonism that the 1960s and 1970s have to offer. While Pierre doesn't exactly approve of all the debauchery and infidelity, the picture itself never comes across as a cautionary tale or judgmental of Yves' adventures. Just like real life, movies these days could use more hedonism.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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