I know I don’t post here very often about Haute Couture or high fashion, but that does not mean I’m not interested. It’s just that lives like YSL’s are well documented elsewhere and so I spend my energies on the more obscure elements of fashion. But I do love reading and learning about the fashion greats, so I got this DVD from Netflix last week.
There are actually two segments, and I made the mistake of watching His Life and Times first. This was a segment where Saint Laurent sat and reminisced about how sad he was, about how stressful and downright frightening designing is, about where had the years gone… In short, it was depressing.
I put off returning the DVD, thinking I might attempt the second segment, 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, which was the address of Saint Laurent’s house of couture, and which is now Foundation Yves Saint Laurent, a museum which houses the vast YSL archive. I’m glad I gave it a chance because this was a delightful look into the working of a couture house in 2000, just two years before he retired.Look at the photograph on the DVD and you can get a glimpse of how the work progressed. The model is wearing a muslin mock-up made by the cutters and master sewers, based purely on a sketch drawn by Saint Laurent. The rolls of fabric that have been chosen for the collection are scattered about the room, and the workers shape and drape lengths of them to show how the design would look in the prints or color. Saint Laurent and his assistants then studied the look, made changes, additions, or scraped the number altogether. It’s a very revealing look into how couture is created, and is very similar to the way Karl Lagerfeld works at Chanel. You can see even more of the inner workings at Chanel by watching the Signe Chanel series, which is on YouTube.