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Yves Saint Laurent: 5, Avenue Marceau, 75116, Paris, France Hardcover – 2 Apr 2002
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Follows "le grand couturier" through every stage of his preparations for the 2002 spring collections. Also included are never-before-published quotes from YSL, photographs from his early years and pages from his mother's scrapbook.
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There is an eight-page, albeit in very-large typeface, essay extolling the philosophy behind the decades of YSL's influence and visions of modern fashion, as well as journal entries in Yves Saint Laurent's own handwriting that are written mostly in French. There are several famous quotes from him: among them the most famous of all "there is nothing more beautiful than a naked body."
The photographs number in the hundreds, though only a handful of family photographs from YSL's childhood in Oran, Algeria are captioned with names. Otherwise, the documentary's images shot mostly in the atelier at 5 avenue Marceau are without caption or description, though you can discern the sense of creativity and endless discussion that is the process of the haute couture. The masterpieces of tailleur (suits) and flou (dresses) are often one-of-a-kind. Their numbers are usually limited to one or two copies, so the 2000 or so women who can afford the prices are not likely to see someone else wearing that same opera coat or evening gown which ends up photographed in the society pages of Paris and New York among other places. If you are paying $50,000 for a hand-embroidered Lesage suit jacket, you don't want to see it on the shoulders of a half-dozen of your fellow couture followers. Ca marche pas!
Most interestingly the editors did not include many quotes from some of Saint Laurent's inner circle, except for a small contribution from his life and business partner, Pierre Berge. There is one short blurb from Catherine Deneuve, but no words from Loulou de la Falaise or Betty Catroux, or even Marie Munoz, directrice of the YSL atelier for years. There are some very old press clippings from the 50s and 60s when YSL was hitting the peaks of creativity, but very little from the pinnacle of his career, which would be most of the 1970s. In the 70s we witnessed some of the greatest moments in fashion history with the Chinese and Russian collections that set the trends for womens' wear for years after the clothes were shown in Paris.
The book is full of images, but short on text. For those who are unfamiliar with all the innovations introduced for women's clothing, their number is second only to that of those brought forth by Coco Chanel. Saint Laurent created the women's pantsuit, the "smoking" or women's tuxedo, the trenchcoat, the safari look, khaki, the list goes on and on. Seeing the documentary would be more than helpful, as it would fill in many of the gaps.
A beautiful book that leaves you only wanting much more...
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