Yves Saint Laurent: The Biography
“Benaïm is the grandest of storytellers who pulls you into the subject’s life and makes you believe you, too, were actually eavesdropping on Yves Saint Laurent.”
For the fashion savvy reader, the most immediate knee jerk reaction might be to compare Yves Saint Laurent: The Biography to Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent by Christopher Petkanas—even before you read the first page. Yves Saint Laurent: The Biography is not a tell-all tale of the life Yves Saint Laurent.
This reflex should immediately be dismissed. Benaim’s telling is one of the most well thought out, tirelessly researched, and thoroughly documented biographies written about one of the greatest couturiers of the 20th century. The prospective reader needs to take note that this is no simple fluffy read; it is at times overly worded and at times a case of too much information as one might imagine in 544 pages.
Benaïm’s Yves Saint Laurent (the only biography ever written in English) is truly the story of a man’s life that influenced the world of fashion for far longer than his lifetime. Those quoted and cited in this book are those who were of the YSL immediate and intimate circle of the designer and the maison. It is crucial at this moment to point out that this book was sanctioned by Pierre Bergé, who was nothing short of bullet proof protective when it came to Yves on both professional and personal levels.
There are so many amazing stories and retellings that have never been previously written about, and they are not of a salacious or gossipy nature; therein lies the gravitas and appeal of this biography even if Saint Laurent was no saint.
Benaïm is one of those biographers/writers who goes the extra mile and beyond to offer her reader an experience that is not soon forgotten due to her intrepid assiduous exploration and investigation of her subject. She has given the same treatment to René Lacoste, which was far more fascinating than one might have imagined or anticipated.
The takeaway is that this is a must read for those who truly want to know who Yves Saint Laurent was starting from his childhood until he drew his last breath. Benaïm is the grandest of storytellers who pulls you into the subject’s life and makes you believe you, too, were actually eavesdropping on Yves Saint Laurent.