L’Amour Fou: The Rise and Passing of an Era of Decadence, Elegance, Fashion, Art & Love

As SQUA.RE readers, you are well aware of how much the SQUA.RE Team loves Mr. Yves Saint Laurent. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that on a cold November night, I found myself running past tourists on Amsterdam’s Leidseplein to the Cinecenter to catch an evening screening of L’Amour Fou. Directed by Pierre Thoretton, the film chronicles one of the greatest fashion empires in our history. The House of YSL was built by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé over the span of nearly five decades. What sets this biopic apart from those of other fashion house namesakes is its multifaceted approach. The 100-minute film covers Yves Saint Laurent’s exit from the House of Dior after showing only one collection as the chosen successor to Christian Dior himself, his partnership with Pierre Bergé to begin his own label, the rise of the YSL empire (including clips of a nervous and pacing Bergé during the showing of the second collection), the relationship between Saint Laurent and Bergé (the narrator for the most part), their fascination for Morocco, and Marrakech in particular, their extensive art collection, and its eventual multi-million Euro auctioning (better known as The Auction of the Century), a difficult decision made by Bergé in order to attain closure. [FILM CLIP BELOW]

Pierre Bergé gives an honest and straightforward description of all of the highs as well as lows — the decadence, the jet-set lifestyle, Saint Laurent’s depression that returned time and time again, and from which he sought escape via heavy indulgence in alcohol and drugs. From a clip of an early interview of Saint Laurent in the film, one can also infer that the reason for his later indulgence was because of the heavy responsibilities he shouldered as early as his late teens as he moved up the ranks at Dior, which did not allow him the luxury of being carefree and wild at that age. In the film, Bergé also describes what drove him and Saint Laurent to end their romantic relationship, although they remained business partners throughout. The film is certainly a story of love and long-lasting companionship, one which remains very truthful to its title, L’Amour Fou.

Surprises include video clips of Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé and Andy Warhol hanging out together while a very young Mick Jagger plays the piano, and in-depth interviews of Saint Laurent’s favorite muses, Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. Pieces of art are shown in the film, and Bergé describes how they correlate with themes of some of Saint Laurent’s most famous collections including the famous Piet Mondrian dress, and his India, Russia and Africa themed collections. SQUA.RE has also previously discussed these collections – you can read the post here.

We highly recommend you catch this film for a sentimental yet realistic look at a beautiful bygone era.

Pieces of art from Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé’s extensive collection

A room in the luxurious Paris home shared by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé

Photo of the home featuring pieces of art that were later auctioned

Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé at the same home during their time together

Images courtesy of Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent and L’Amour Fou press.

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