Blissful Birthday, Yves Saint Laurent —a designer with Hollywood historical past

FRANCE – CIRCA 1961: Zizi Jeanmaire and Yves Saint Laurent. Paris, Alhambra. December, 1961. LIP-005010-029. (Photograph by Roger Viollet through Getty Photographs/Roger Viollet through Getty Photographs)

Style has lengthy held a fascination in Hollywood. Just lately, “Home of Gucci” and Netflix’s restricted collection “Halston” stylishly captured the highs and lows of this beguiling trade. Sartorial theatricality lends itself to the brilliant lights of Tinseltown, guaranteeing overlap between the runway and the massive display. Traits are born from a number of mediums, however there is no such thing as a denying the affect Hollywood has on the garments we put on — and vice versa. 

Legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent, who would have turned 86 on August 1, encapsulates this duality. (He died in June 2008.) His meteoric rise to fame occurred after World Warfare II, which put a halt to frivolity; the battle’s finish meant the return of Parisian couture, and it returned with a vengeance. In 1947, Christian Dior took the world by storm with a group that may change all the things. “Harper’s Bazaar” editor-in-chief Carmel Snow coined the time period “New Look” to explain what she witnessed throughout this debut present, which kick-started a trend revolution. 

The title caught, and when the designer died unexpectedly ten years later at 52, his younger assistant stepped into the function of head designer at Dior. Saint Laurent was solely 21 years outdated when he took on this huge duty, however his boss had beforehand acknowledged his immeasurable expertise. 

It’s no surprise then that Saint Laurent has been the topic of a number of documentaries exploring his creations and dealing fashion (“The Drawings of Yves Saint Laurent“). The identical could be mentioned about his turbulent private {and professional} life (“Yves Saint Laurent, Fireplace Starter“). Two biopics overlaying probably the most explosive years additionally chart this trajectory. To mark what would have been his 86th birthday, FOX Tv Stations takes a have a look at the costume designers who paved the best way for Saint Laurent within the film biz, the couturier’s work with French film legend Catherine Deneuve and his lasting on-screen legacy.

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Earlier than Yves Saint Laurent

Within the Golden Age of Hollywood, costume designers like Howard Greer, Edith Head and the one-name-only Adrian turned almost as well-known as the celebrities they dressed. Greer mass-marketed luxurious clothes, Head wrote no-nonsense fashion recommendation (and designed Grace Kelly’s royal marriage ceremony robe) and Adrian opened a high-end ready-to-wear salon after leaving MGM.

Audiences take cues from the clothes they see on display, and it was not unusual for reproductions (or costume patterns) of eye-catching gadgets to hit shops. In 1958, Helen Rose took the elegant white chiffon frock worn by Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat on a Sizzling Tin Roof” and bought copies in malls like Bonwit Teller in New York for $250. Even with that hefty price ticket (equal to $2,563.24 in 2022), Rose bought hundreds of clothes — and odds are the identical factor would occur right this moment.

In no way are costume and trend design the identical factor, however there’s a symbiotic relationship. Influential figures in each industries have tried their hand on the different with various outcomes. Coco Chanel‘s time in Tinseltown was not the success Samuel Goldwyn hoped it will be (her designs had been too refined for the silver display). Nonetheless, Hubert de Givenchy proved way more profitable in his enduring partnership with Audrey Hepburn in motion pictures together with “Sabrina,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Humorous Face.” 

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Defining photos of Hepburn clad in black wanting within the Fifth Avenue retailer window are attributed to Givenchy, however Head co-designed this movie. “I actually didn’t care. Couture has copied my issues for years, along with numerous different costume designers, claiming theirs had been the unique concepts. It’s all a part of the enterprise, sadly,” Head remarked in 1974 about work she did on “Sabrina” that was misattributed to Givenchy. Pairing the 2 disciplines can result in unforgettable photos; nonetheless, legendary tales aren’t at all times as they appear. 

Yves Saint Laurent’s film creations

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French designer Yves Saint Laurent (1936 – 2008) in his Paris studio, January 1982. (Photograph by John Downing/Getty Photographs)

Saint Laurent began his model in 1962 (he was fired from Dior in 1960), which continues to be going robust. Style was altering, and whereas he got here from a world of unique high fashion, it was time to embrace Prêt-à-Porter (ready-to-wear). His first buyer at his Paris brick-and-mortar retailer was actress Catherine Deneuve, and this inventive collaboration spanned a long time. 

WATCH FREE ON TUBI: “The Drawings of Yves Saint Laurent” — get the app

Two years after their first assembly, Saint Laurent designed Deneuve’s sharp, tailor-made appears to be like in “Belle De Jour” (Hélène Nourrey designed the remainder of the movie) that captured the bored housewife earlier than she breaks freed from the buttoned-up clothes. This film helped flip Deneuve right into a trend icon and additional cemented Saint Laurent’s cultural stamp. 

This partnership continued in motion pictures together with “Mississippi Mermaid” in 1969 and Tony Scott’s function debut “The Starvation” in 1983, which featured plunging necklines and beautiful accessorizing to replicate the designer’s love of Outdated Hollywood glam. That is evident in how Saint Laurent breathed new life into masculine-meets-feminine tailoring with tuxedos for girls (known as Le Smoking), impressed by Marlene Dietrich’s “Morocco” apparel. This development is now a staple, and Kristen Stewart put her spin on this have a look at the Oscars earlier this yr.

Saint Laurent’s work with Deneuve raised his costume design sport, however his first style of film set life was on “Pink Panther” in 1963. He created items for French mannequin Capucine and Italian actress Claudia Cardinale. He additionally crafted items for Jean Seberg in “Second to Second” and Sophia Loren in “Arabesque.” Paris within the ’60s was as fashionable as London, and Saint Laurent’s contributions had been huge. 

WATCH FREE ON TUBI: “Yves Saint Laurent, Fireplace Starter” — get the app

The Yves Saint Laurent Biopics

Given Saint Laurent’s influence on the world of trend and his starring function within the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding theParisian jet set within the ‘60s and ‘70s, it isn’t stunning the designer acquired the biopic therapy in 2014. Actually, inside one yr, two titles advised the story of his rise to fame — and that of these turbulent years. “Yves Saint Laurent,” directed by Jalil Lespert, was launched first, adopted by Bertrand Bonello‘s “Saint Laurent.” The latter didn’t have the assist of Saint Laurent’s companion, Pierre Berge

WATCH FREE ON TUBI: 2014 biopic “Yves Saint Laurent” — get the app

Entry to intensive archives provides “Yves Saint Laurent” the higher hand in aesthetics in addition to costume design, as Madeline Fontaine used precise YSL gadgets loaned Yves Saint Laurent Basis. “In fact, we couldn’t make any alterations to the unique items both, so we needed to solid the fashions for the style present scenes in a really uncommon manner by discovering fashions that may match the clothes,” Fontaine advised The Guardian in 2014. Genuine apparel from the vault consists of the defining tuxedo jacket and Mondrian costume. Contemplating his contribution to trend and cinema, it’s becoming that Yves Saint Laurent’s work takes middle stage in retelling his life. 

In regards to the author: Emma Fraser is a contract tradition author with a deal with TV, motion pictures, and costume design. She has contributed to Elle, The Each day Beast, IGN, Vulture, The Minimize, Thrillist, Little White Lies, and extra. Observe her on Twitter and Instagram: @frazbelina.

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