June 21st, 2015 / posted by paularath

Saint Laurent movie poster


Sometimes it’s better not to read movie reviews.

In fact, my son, Duncan Graham, who has an incredible passion for movies and an encyclopedic knowledge of film, refuses to read reviews until after he has seen a movie.

So I kinda hope you didn’t read the review of “Saint Laurent” in the newspaper on Friday. Because if you did, you might feel you don’t want to see this film. And if you have an interest in fashion, that would be a mistake.

Yes, it’s true that the film depicts Saint Laurent’s wild lifestyle, with the Studio 54 parties, the bad boy antics, the drugs, alcohol and some gay debauchery. But there is, above all, THE FASHION.

It takes a village, or at least a large and talented team, to create couture. It’s a haute and highly specialized form of art. I loved the first 15 or so minutes of the movie, where you could see the hands-on atelier work of basting, stitching, embroidering and model fittings. Saint Laurent describes how a lapel needs to be wider and a collar must stand up higher. I hope it will help people better understand that a designer doesn’t just sketch a garment and it magically appears full-blown on a model.

"Le Smoking" by Yves Saint Laurent

“Le Smoking” by Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent has always been one of my favorite designers. He introduced women to a whole new way of dressing, a feminine approach to men’s classics such as pea coats, blazers,safari jackets, trench coats and tuxedos.

In the ’70s, every woman executive aspired to his blazers, suits and pants. My wish list always has a “Le Smoking,” the Saint Laurent take on a tuxedo for women, at the top. I was thrilled to see some of the original ensembles in the deYoung Museum in San Francisco several years ago. They are even more exquisite than I had thought – strictly tailored and cut with the utmost tact and taste.

Catherine Deneuve was the first to wear Le Smoking in 1967.

Catherine Deneuve was the first to wear Le Smoking in 1967.

Here are just a few of the innovations of Yves Saint Laurent:

  • 1963: thigh high boots
  • 1965: Mondrian dresses
  • 1966: Le Smoking (tuxedos for women)
  • 1968: Safari jackets and see-through blouses
  • 1969: Pants suits

The film covers the years 1967 – 1976. In ’76, he presented his most renowned runway show, featuring the Cossack or Russian Collection. This show is depicted in the movie in all its glory, with layers of full skirts, shawls, scarves, belts, beads, embroidered bodices and tall boots. The movie does a beautiful job with this scene.

The acting is excellent and Gaspard Ulliel’s resemblance to Saint Laurent is uncanny. Go see it soon! (Do be aware that it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes long, so plan on that.)

Mahalo to Eurocinema Hawaii and the Kahala Theatres for bringing “Saint Laurent” to Honolulu for our fashion enthusiasts to see.

– Paula Rath

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