Yves Saint Laurent vs. Saint Laurent: Comparing Both of This Year's Biopics on the French Designer

Just because there are two movies about Yves Saint Laurent coming to theaters this year doesn't mean they're anything alike.

Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company and EuropaCorp

Two major motion pictures about celebrated designer Yves Saint Laurent are coming to theaters this year. And based on what we know so far, the two movies are dramatically different.

One of the films was released in the UK just last week and will be in American theaters this June. The other doesn't even have a trailer yet—or at least not one we can find on the Internet—and won't debut until October. Other differences abound; we've analyzed them here.

The Lover's Approval

One of the biggest distinctions between the two films is the approval and cooperation of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's former lover and business partner. He worked enthusiastically with Jalil Lespert, who directed the YSL biopic that has already debuted. It's simply titled Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, Bergé said the film's star, Pierre Niney, blew him away with his performance.

"It really disconcerted me, it even upset me, because it's very difficult," Bergé told WWD. "At times, I thought it was Yves Saint Laurent himself. That's huge." Take a look at Niney's performance below.

Bergé has declined to cooperate with director Bertrand Bonello, who's behind 2014's other YSL biopic, Saint Laurent. Bergé has said he won't try to stop the movie from being produced, but has said that if the movie doesn't use Saint Laurent's original sketches and designs, he reserves "the right to take action."

But Kering, the French fashion conglomerate that now owns Saint Laurent, is backing Bonello's movie, and will undoubtedly grant him access to the brand's archives.

The Actors


Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company and EuropaCorp

Both actors Pierre Niney and Gaspard Ulliel look like Yves Saint Laurent—they're tall, slender, dark-haired men with strong noses and fair complexions. Niney, who trained at the Comedie Française, isn't all that well known outside of France. Ulliel, however, has a somewhat international presence. He played a young Hannibal Lecter in 2007's Hannibal Rising, and he's currently the face of the fragrance Bleu de Chanel.

The Story

Yves Saint Laurent focuses on the beginning of the designer's career in the late 1950s, when he worked for master couturier Christian Dior. The movie sees him taking over Dior's house, and eventually partnering with Bergé to start his own business. The designer is, by most accounts, portrayed as a troubled genius who struggles with depression and drug addiction.

The plot of Saint Laurent, on the other hand, isn't as clear—although one French film site claims it will focus on the designer's life from 1965 to 1976, an interesting period for the young designer. In 1966, he launched his ready-to-wear label, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, becoming one of the first couturiers to launch into to RTW.

Of course, we can't judge either film until we see them for ourselves. Yves Saint Laurent debuts on June 25, 2014 here in the United States, and Saint Laurent will premiere in France on October 1,2014—just in time for Paris Fashion Week.

—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.

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