download Prime Yves Saint Laurent: A BiographyAutor Laurence Benaim –

If you collect these kind of books it is worth having However if you are hoping to see fashion forget it. This definitive portrait of the creative genius who transformed fashion is the first major English language biography of Yves Saint Laurent since his death in , featuring exclusive interviews of those who knew him best, by one of the most respected names in French fashionYves Saint Laurent s impact on fashion is legendary, yet he remains an enigmatic and compelling figure Tracing the development of Saint Laurent s visionary work through his charmed yet tumultuous life, respected fashion writer Laurence Benam s newly translated and updated biography of the famed designer explores how this unassuming prodigy became a legendary, celebrated public icon who changed the face of fashion, style, and celebrityEnriched by the author s exclusive interviews from Saint Laurent s partner Pierre Berg to family members, his atelier staff, and muses such as Catherine Deneueve, LouLou de la Falaise, and Paloma Picasso this fascinating biography chronicles early glimpses of Saint Laurent s talent in Oran and his star trajectory, from leading the House of Dior at the age of twenty one to his fall from grace and subsequent forging with Pierre Berg, fashion s most enduring and successful professional partnership In portraying the man behind the timeless icons of the Mondrian print shift dress and the Le Smoking trouser suit who partied with Warhol in New York and relaxed with the jet set in his Marrakesh hideaway Benam powerfully illuminates both the glittering world of haute couture and the business empire that revolutionized the fashion industry boring Attractive and promising cover, content confusing, boring and repetitive 444 densely printed pages needed a professional editor. This s a very strange edition It is presented as the all new, first complete biography of Yves Saint Laurent published Well, not quite This book was first published in France in 2002 when Yves Saint Laurent and most of the principal characters were still very much alive The book ended with Saint Laurent s last collection and his farewell speech That first edition is still available right here on in French.One would think that in the intervening 17 years Benaim would have added a couple of chapters to bring the story up to date We get the same material as in 2002 without updating or revisions A brief chronology has been added at the back outlining the dates of the deaths of Saint Laurent, Pierre Berg , Loulou de La Falaise and a few other characters, plus a brief mention of the overhyped, record breaking auction that followed awkwardly and hurriedly after Saint Laurent s funeral, as if his manager and Svengali, Pierre Berg , were rushing to dispose of everything as soon as possible All of this material, plus the couturier s final retreat to Marrakesh and his lonely, sad decline and death of a brain tumor in 2008 should have been included to round off the narrative.Ironically, in spite of the many omissions, the book is overly long, verbose and repetitious It s as if Benaim has never thrown away any notes that she ever scribbled, Minutiae, no matter how insignificant, from a scuffed heel to a spilled glass of wine to to a head cold, are described in detail Some superfluous pages are written in an oddly incongruous, novelistic style that perhaps betrays frustrated auteur aspirations Incidentally, Benaim seems to have a fetishistic obsession with the word mousseline , which keeps popping up every few pages She also has a liking for arcane textile names such as peau de soie and guipure.Many of the most sordid passages in Saint Laurent s pampered, indulgent, uncontrollable and self destructive life are omitted or glossed over The drunken rampages, the life threatening tantrums, the incredible flow of all manner of drugs and the parade of tawdry and degrading orgies are minimized and airbrushed or simply ignored one of his beloved dogs overdosed and died after ingesting scattered pills at a wild party One detects in this whitewashing the controlling and censoring hand of Berg , the sometime lover and self appointed evangelist of the master s mystique, the financial wizard, always lurking in the shadows, directing the show and building a fashion empire and a fabulous fortune that Saint Laurent could not have achieved on his own In a way he invented the designer as the world knew him Berg controlled and managed all of the monetary matters, often dealing in questionable decisions bordering on the unethical, such as relentless, shameless licensing of the couturier s name to promote anything from cheap vinyl accessories made in China to fake leather and synthetic fiber products to kitchen utensils Anything for money, particularly sad since Saint Laurent had nothing to do with the creation of those products except to collect millions in royalties.The author is in awe of the designer s many creations, although very few, such as the 1965 Mondrian inspired collection, were truly original The female tuxedo, constantly praised through the book as the master s iconic creation, was present since the 1920s and frequently worn by luminaries such as Louise Brooks, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland The safari jacket was around since forever, as any fan of classic jungle movies will attest Women wore pants long before Saint Laurent ever first picked up a pencil again Baker, Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwick, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall and many others A great amount of Saint Laurent s work is reminiscent of his mentor, Christian Dior, and of other truly original designers such as Givenchy and Balenciaga And he most certainly did not invent pret porter ready to wear , although Benaim doesn t quite make such a claim.His true talent lay not so much in practical clothes many other designers provided that but in extravagant, elaborate creations such as the Russian Peasant collection, the Imperial Chinese collection and several others But these fantastic and prohibitively expensive concoctions were of little use to women in the real world and were eventually eclipsed by the even outlandish creations of Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix and Gianni Versace Much of what made Yves Saint Laurent a household name was in truth the result of an ingenious and endless publicity blitz Full pages in every issue of all the fashion magazines, some showing the artist tastefully and comically nude Anything to stay in the public eye Mad media extravaganzas for the launch of an interminable parade of perfumes and accessories, runway shows that were increasingly little than circuses, etc All of it the work of the insatiable Berg.The book also suffers from needless and annoying name dropping The author wants to make sure that you are aware of how many people she knows Everyone she can think of makes an appearance whether needed or not, from Elsa Schiapparelii to Antoine Watteau, Ren Descartes to Richard Wagner, Flash Gordon to Madame de S vign , Pierre Loti to Rabindranath Tagore It is too rich a cake Besides the names of a multitude of obscure writers, artists, socialites and show business figures unknown outside of a limited circle of Parisian cognoscenti, there are endless references to Marcel Proust s bloated roman clef, Remembrance of Things Past, apparently Saint Laurent s Bible Benaim want to make sure that you know she s read it.The biggest disappointment is the total lack of illustrations, especially in view of the fact that Rizzoli is one of the most exceptional publishers of quality art books Yet this fat volume contains not a single photograph of Saint Laurent, his family or friends Not one picture of the most successful couture collections, stage and film designs or of the countless drawings and sketches that illuminate the artist s methods and thinking processes No views of his many residences, his art collections, his idiosyncratic decorating preferences Nothing.This review may appear harsh but a biographical enterprise of this scope should have been assembled with much care by the writer and the publisher After all, they have had about two decades to complete, update and refine it In the end, I came out of this long slog without finding anything about Yves Saint Laurent that I didn t already know and feeling frustrated that much relevant information had been omitted.This is just a personal and limited opinion You may find this a great book, particularly if you are just beginning to learn about Saint Laurent On the other hand, the convoluted length, esoteric references and sheer verbosity may just put you off and you may opt for one of the several compact and illustrated volumes available.