August 30 2014

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Pat Cleveland Remembers “The Tenderness And The Anger” Of Saint Laurent And Bergé’s Amour Fou


In recent years, a new designer documentary has sprung each spring. Ultrasuede, a Halston profile, premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, and Matt Tyrnauer unveiled The Last Emperor, his extended close-up on Valentino, the spring before.

Last night, at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of L’Amour Fou, Yves Saint Laurent had his turn. Director Pierre Thoretton tenderly revisits the relationship between the late designer and his life and business partner, Pierre Bergé (above), and ends on the Christie’s sale of their blockbuster art collection. Thoretton takes a more somber and meditative approach than his predecessors in the genre, with the unloading of the couple’s prize possessions functioning as a sort of final chapter in their love affair. “I don’t believe in souls,” Bergé says in the film.

After the credits rolled, Olivier Theyskens and Sky Ferreira stood reflectively on the sidewalk outside, Googling the subjects’ birth dates. Alec Baldwin, quasi-disguised in thick-frame glasses, was in an intense conversation with Tyson director James Toback as he exited. Julia Restoin-Roitfeld made a hasty retreat. (You’ve got to love the Tribeca Film Festival mix.)

Also part of the post-screening crowd was Pat Cleveland, who wore her first YSL dress when she was 14 and modeled for Saint Laurent after first meeting him in Paris in 1970. She said that even if it wasn’t necessarily packed with surprises, the film had gotten the relationship right. “It was so out in the open, all of that—I mean the tenderness and the anger. Dealing with Pierre was always such a trip, because he was also so serious and so businesslike. But you understood the relationship.” L’Amour Fou, she added, doesn’t just represent Bergé’s side of the story, but “a chance to show his emotions. He doesn’t like to, basically, show that side of himself. He’s heartbroken. We all are.”

PLUS: For more on L’Amour Fou, read our Q&A with director Pierre Thoretton.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films

Dept. of Culture