Have a pessimistic view of love? Worry about the perils of living and working together? Live for material possessions? Have an interest in seeing what some of the most iconic fashion muses have to say about their relationships with Yves Saint Laurent? If so, run to the nearest theater screening of L'Amour Fou which will turn your view on life-long love upside down and shed light on two of fashion’s most remarkable figures. The long-awaited documentary (the title translates to “Crazy Love”) made its official stateside debut at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens to the public on May 13 in New York, May 20 in Los Angeles, and in select cities around the country after that.
The story chronicles the relationship of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, focusing on the sale of their joint art collection. A mix of color and black-and-white, the French film is narrated by Berge himself. Many negative things have been said about Berge (Tom Ford in particular has been very vocal about how difficult he is to work with). It’s clear from the film that Berge isn't the most emotional of men (near the beginning, he remarks, “I don’t believe in the soul, neither in my own, nor in that of these objects.”) but that only heightens the poignancy when the eighty-year-old Berge grieves the death of his life-long partner onscreen: “Losing someone with whom you've lived with—ups and downs through the years—for 50 years, whose eyes you closed, it's different than seeing objets d'art leave."
Directed by Pierre Thoretto, this documentary sets the groundwork for an emotional journey by opening with original footage of YSL announcing his plans to retire from the fashion industry. Directly afterward, we see Berge’s eulogy at Saint Laurent's funeral.
Throughout the documentary, there are incredible sequences of the couple’s Rue de Babylone home and the 700-plus art objects that Saint Laurent and Berge spent decades collecting (all of them were subsequently sold at a now-legendary 2009 Christie’s auction at the Grand Palais in Paris for nearly $485 million). Saint Laurent’s muses, including Betty Catroux and LouLou de la Falaise, are also interviewed, and tidbits about how Saint Laurent came to found his own couture house, secured investors, faced controversies, and more are explored throughout the film.
For those more interested in fashion eye candy, there are plenty of treats. Chief among them is a stunning montage that traces a number of Saint Laurent’s memorable finale looks — no one did bridal with as much stunning originality as YSL, and this particular montage is one of the most obvious displays of the designer’s knack for pushing the envelope and changing the way modern women dressed.
See the trailer for L'Amour Fou below: