The French have an expression - L'amour fou which translates literally as it is meant - Crazy Love. It describes the love you experience that becomes your life. The one that gets under your skin and changes who you are as a person. The documentary now playing in select theaters - L'Amour Fou tells the story of such a love. The late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is one of a handful of people in the 20th century that changed the way women dress all over the world. With his business and life partner Pierre Berge, the two men created an empire that is unrivaled to this day.
The film opens with the press conference held by the late Yves Saint Laurent himself on the announcement of his retirement in 2002. Told thereon from the point of view of Pierre Berge who stars in, and narrates the film. Berge unfolds the story of Saint Laurent's rise to worldwide fame and great fortune. Beginning with footage of the painfully shy and socially awkward YSL being named head couturier of the iconic house- Christian Dior. The untimely death of Dior at the age of 52, left this 21 year old assistant as the heir apparent. The youngest designer ever to design Couture, Saint Laurent would go on to set trend after trend as he blazed a fashion legacy for over 40 years. Most of his greatest designs were also as political and controversial as they were creative. Be it the androgynous look of women in tuxedos, being the first designer to use black models on the runway, or the naming of his fragrance Opium - each move sent shockwaves through the fashion world and the main stream media. Opium would go on to be one of the most successful fragrances every sold. It would be this fragrance, and the creation of the concept of Ready-To-Wear that would catapult the duo to a stratosphere of fame and fortune they had never known.
Pierre Berge was the man behind the scenes to the world, but known to all in-the-know as the mastermind behind the delicately creative YSL. Without Berge there to make every business decision and champion his great love, clearly Saint Laurent would not have become the legend he was, or create the legend his body of work still is to this day.
The documentary, directed by Pierre Thoretton, is set around the auction of Yves and Pierre's Art collection in 2009 by Christie's auction house. Organized by Berge after Saint Laurent's death in 2008, the auction was a spectacle in its own right and was staged at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. The astounding collection of over 733 works of art broke world records with final sales of the three day auction at over $480 Million dollars. It is hard to think of an important artist the two had not collected. Degas, Picasso, Brancusi, Warhol, Klee, and Matisse only scratch the surface, as hard as that is to imagine.
What makes the documentary so entertaining and charming is that it is told by Berge himself and a small cast of Yves's supporters. Famous friends and muses to the designer, Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Catroux give an inside look to the creative genius, the madness, and the friendship of Saint Laurent. Berge is purely personal and partial - as only a great love could be. The story is not sugar coated and Berge talks of Yves emotional battles, his addictions, and professional ups and downs. While Berge does come off a bit too saint like in the telling, the documentary is a treat on so many levels.
L'Amour Fou is a must see for any fan of the creative fields of Art, Fashion, and Interior design. The DVD will make a most welcomed gift.
Watch a trailer from the film below. - For more information on the film - click- IFC