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Yves Saint Laurent 5, avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris , France Hardcover – May 1, 2002
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From Library Journal
At age 21, Yves St. Laurent took over as head of the prestigious House of Dior; at age 25, he opened his own firm; and after a lifetime of achievement, he has now announced his upcoming retirement. To mark this event, these books are being published in conjunction with 5, avenue Marceau, a documentary on his incredible 40-year career. LIFE photographer Boulat offers a photomontage of the young St. Laurent in his first year as an independent designer, while Teboul (the director of the documentary) jumps ahead to focus on the step-by-step operations of putting together the show for his Spring 2002 line. To his credit, Teboul does provide some background information on the designer, including childhood photos, a biographical chronology, reproductions of early newspaper clippings (from the scrapbooks of St. Laurent's mother), a complete checklist of his major shows, and four pages of notable St. Laurent quotes. Nonetheless, except for the childhood photos, neither the people nor the activities in any of the pictures are identified. (Perhaps they will be in the documentary.) The publisher describes Teboul's as the "definitive volume," but in fact neither book sheds much light on St. Laurent's life or career. The hundreds of photos are fun to look through (especially when they convey the energy and oftentimes frantic pace of putting together a show), but both books disappoint for lack of comprehensive documentation of this important designer's work. Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There is an eight-page, albeit in very-large typeface, essay extolling the philosophy behind the decades of YSL's influence and visions of modern fashion, as well as journal entries in Yves Saint Laurent's own handwriting that are written mostly in French. There are several famous quotes from him: among them the most famous of all "there is nothing more beautiful than a naked body."
The photographs number in the hundreds, though only a handful of family photographs from YSL's childhood in Oran, Algeria are captioned with names. Otherwise, the documentary's images shot mostly in the atelier at 5 avenue Marceau are without caption or description, though you can discern the sense of creativity and endless discussion that is the process of the haute couture. The masterpieces of tailleur (suits) and flou (dresses) are often one-of-a-kind. Their numbers are usually limited to one or two copies, so the 2000 or so women who can afford the prices are not likely to see someone else wearing that same opera coat or evening gown which ends up photographed in the society pages of Paris and New York among other places. If you are paying $50,000 for a hand-embroidered Lesage suit jacket, you don't want to see it on the shoulders of a half-dozen of your fellow couture followers. Ca marche pas!
Most interestingly the editors did not include many quotes from some of Saint Laurent's inner circle, except for a small contribution from his life and business partner, Pierre Berge. There is one short blurb from Catherine Deneuve, but no words from Loulou de la Falaise or Betty Catroux, or even Marie Munoz, directrice of the YSL atelier for years. There are some very old press clippings from the 50s and 60s when YSL was hitting the peaks of creativity, but very little from the pinnacle of his career, which would be most of the 1970s. In the 70s we witnessed some of the greatest moments in fashion history with the Chinese and Russian collections that set the trends for womens' wear for years after the clothes were shown in Paris.
The book is full of images, but short on text. For those who are unfamiliar with all the innovations introduced for women's clothing, their number is second only to that of those brought forth by Coco Chanel. Saint Laurent created the women's pantsuit, the "smoking" or women's tuxedo, the trenchcoat, the safari look, khaki, the list goes on and on. Seeing the documentary would be more than helpful, as it would fill in many of the gaps.
A beautiful book that leaves you only wanting much more...