14 posts tagged "Pierre Berge"
The trailer for the upcoming Pierre Bergé-approved Yves Saint Laurent biopic, starring Pierre Niney as the designer, has hit YouTube (below). Because the flick—aptly titled Yves Saint Laurent and hitting theaters next year—had Bergé’s blessing, its creators had full access to the house’s enviable archives, and they swathed the cast in vintage looks. However, another non-Bergé-approved film, dubbed Saint Laurent, will be released at the same time. And while it may not have an archive worth of YSL, it does have model (slash actress) of the moment Léa Seydoux playing Loulou de la Falaise. Which secret weapon will prove most riveting? Only time (and audiences) will tell.
As industries go, fashion may be the least closeted there is: No one can deny the massive impact made by men and women who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered in the history of fashion and costume. Fashion historian Valerie Steele addresses the contributions made by LGBT people in a new exhibition, A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, opening this week at the Museum at F.I.T. It includes pieces ranging from designs by Jean Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace to Edwardian suits and nineteenth-century finery; clothing made by gays and for gays; as well as those items and styles co-opted and fetishized by gay audiences, and from gay audiences. (See, for example, Versace’s adaptation of leather fetish regalia into his women’s haute couture.)
As the exhibition makes clear—not that it wasn’t out, as it were, already—the gay contribution to fashion is beyond doubt. The question that’s much harder to answer is why. Shortly after the show was announced last year, I sat down with Steele, who co-curated the exhibit with Fred Dennis, to try to tease out the curious correlation and connection between gayness, politics, fashion, and style.
It goes without saying—but let’s say it—that many, many fashion designers and professionals are gay. Is gayness fashion’s default position?
I don’t know if it’s the default position, because there are heterosexual men, and there are women of all different sexualities, straight, gay, and bi, in fashion—though fewer of them have come out than gay men. But I think it’s not just a stereotype to say that there’s a lot of interest in fashion and style among a lot of gay men. What we’re interested in doing with Queer History is, if you can get beyond saying it’s just a stereotype, maybe you can start exploring why it might be the case that there’s this interest in fashion and style. You’re not pathologizing it; for one thing, most people like fashion now. You could explore, is there a kind of gay sensibility that would be drawn to issues of style and fashion?
And is there?
We tend to think yes. But we think there’s not one gay aesthetic, but at least a couple of different gay aesthetics. Several, probably: One that would tend to be more idealizing, and the other that would be more disruptive and gender-fuck.
But that idealizing aesthetic could be a kind of misogyny, no? You have male designers creating designs for women’s bodies that aren’t necessarily forgiving, or even possible…
If you go online, this is the vox pop: Do gay men hate women? You saw that [first] in the fifties, when you had all these very homophobic commentators, like the psychiatrist Bergler, who said that gay men hate women and therefore they make weird clothes for them to wear. But the point is, gay men have made all different types of clothes. It’s not just that they like girls to look like teenage boys, or they like girls to look like a caricature of women. It’s all different styles. And you find that straight men and women of different sexual persuasions also doing those, too. It’s much more related to their individual aesthetic and their time period than it is to their sexual orientations. So I think you have to confront that. Some people who don’t like fashion are going to say that it’s gay men making things for putatively straight women. But I think you can’t be held back by homophobic complaints. I think it’s more important to try and explore where things might lead you and not be constrained by irrational homophobia—and irrational fashion phobia, too.
Which go hand in hand.
Which often do go hand in hand.
Where does this connection between gay men and fashion come from?
I think it’s partly a kind of self-selection early on that gay boys, maybe before they know they’re gay, are interested often in artistic pursuits. “Artistic” was always a kind of euphemism for being gay. Lots of gay people talk about, “When I was four, I was telling my mother how to dress. When I was four, I was doing elaborate drawings of ladies’ costumes.” That’s before you have much of a sexual identity, but there’s already possibly something there that’s attractive about artistic and transformative fields like fashion. Fashion is about artifice and transformation and fantasy and a certain idea of beauty. I think it’s intrinsically very appealing to a lot of people, and it may just be that, at least in certain cultures—and there’s been so little cross-cultural work done, it’s hard to tell—that may be something that’s part of a gay male sensibility. Continue Reading “Glitter and Be Gay? Addressing the LGBT Influence in Fashion” »
Jean Paul Gaultier Signs On With Diet Coke, Natalie Portman’s Vintage Dior Dress Sells For $50,000, And More…
Jean Paul Gaultier has found a new gig as the creative director of Diet Coke. The designer will re-create the soft drink’s can and bottle designs, as well as star (as a detective, a therapist, and a journalist) in three short promotional films. [Vogue U.K.]
Kabuki theater is the subject of the latest exhibition at the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris. The exhibition, which runs until July 15, includes ornate costumes and accessories, show programs, and films. [WWD]
Natalie Portman’s vintage Christian Dior dress recently sold for a reported $50,000. After appearing on the Oscars’ carpet last month, the 1954 gown was bought by a private couture collector in London. [Grazia Daily]
Miuccia Prada found her way back onto Forbes‘ annual billionaires list with a net worth of $6.8 billion. The designer is also ranked as Forbes‘ 79th most powerful woman, while her husband and Prada chief executive office Patrizio Bertelli came in at number 296 on the billionaires list. [Forbes]
Christopher Bailey was recently named chair of Fashion Fringe, a British competition that looks for emerging design talent. Bailey’s duties will include selecting finalists and providing mentorship. “I am very proud to be partnering with them to unearth the next generation of exciting designers,” Bailey tells WWD. [WWD]
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.