a strong desire to learn more about the subject that any magazine could possibly teach me. Little that I knew, that heavy tome opened a completely new chapter of my life. The library of the fashion related titles that joined the first one became my kaleidoscope. I loved how the stories completed each other allowing me to understand people I'd never get a chance to meet and giving me the insights into the lives I'd never have an opportunity to witness.
Yves Saint Laurent has always been one of those personalities that fascinated me. Naturally, he was one of the first designers who I focused my attention on when it came to the biography books. I began with Yves Saint Laurent: a biography, then followed with Yves St Laurent and Yves Saint Laurent for the visuals and extra titbits of the information I wouldn't find anywhere else. Of course, I watched L'Amour Fou, too.
"I shall never stop creating. This is my reason for living."
But just like with any talented and unique person, it would be incredibly arrogant to assume that his world and works could be covered within a book or two - frankly, I don't think there will never be enough to satisfy the love for and need of understanding Saint Laurent, both as a man and a fashion designer, the Dior's dauphin who not only outmoded his master, but succeeded as designer in his own right creating iconic pieces that became a style classic and the first designer who produced both couture and ready-to-wear.
"I perfer to shock rather than to bore by repeating."
The latest book, Yves Saint Laurent's Studio: mirror and secrets, that only just been released, is certainly the one to acquire because this small, but rather special edition, is an invitation to the heart and soul of the Maison Saint Laurent, the studio, the sanctuary, the refuse and prison, the "ossuary and womb"where Yves created his oeuvre, the body of work that made him the Saint Laurent and the place where he faced his aesthetic ghosts.
Written by Jeromine Savignon with the help of Pierre Berge and published by Actes Sud in both English and French, Mirror and secrets not only contains over 40 images that have never been shown to the public before, but also takes us through the most intimate, most precious act of the design creation, "a wonderful and exciting adventure" as Saint Laurent described it once.
The process is divided into five acts from "The Revelation of the Drawing" to "The Secret Births of the Designs" that follow one another day by day, minute by minute, all within the walls of the studio as "a pursuit of perfection in an almost mute effervescence".
"My children... my talents beyond talent, my tendernesses, my queens, my kings and my princesses..."**
Not only Savignon helps us to visualise the life within the Maison, she also shows Yves through his own remarks and the snippets of interviews with the Saint Laurent's employees. It really is a very personal and emotion-charged story written with a lot of love and care to relive many special moments of the designer's life.
"I'd say that when you create a dress you make your soul visible. And it's very beautiful, Yves Saint Laurent's soul, when it is displayed in the collections"*, witnessed by the mirror that knows all the secrets.
** Speech by Yves Saint Laurent at a traditional lunch after the couture show
Photo source: Yves Saint Laurent's studio: mirrors and secrets | photos by Hedi Slimane (cover shot), with Moujik at Avenue Marceau in 1982 photographed by Pierre Boulat, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge at rue Jean-Goujon December 1961 discussing YSL photographed by Pierre Boulat, Yves Saint Laurent's desk photographed by Luc Castel | Foundation Pierre berge/Yves Saint Laurent via vogue, Yves Saint Laurent collection catwalk line-up, Yves Saint Laurent working on his Spring/Summer 2002 couture collection photographed by Alexandra Boulat