Yves Saint Laurent talks to Bianca Jagger
What is on your mind, Yves?
Many things . . .
I can’t say.
Do you think you can speak in front of this machine? It’s not really the right time.
(In English) I would like to be sit . . .
(In Englisch) There – Voila, that’s a perfect place, Monsieur Saint Laurent . . . (She laughs)
Mrs. J. (They both laugh.)
Why have you chosen women as your inspiration? (In English:) To find something new? Do you find in your work that women have disappointed you?
Disappointed? No, not at all. Certainly not. Definitely not.
Do you feel that you can give everything you want to?
Aren’t there any women beyond your fantasy and imagination?
No, not at all. Because I don’t at all search for an ideal woman, but several ideal women.
Several ideal women?
Yes, each model I have represents a type of ideal women to me.
But the epitome . . . a few women . . .
Yes, in a certain sense. . . . Why so few women?
No, these few women.
Few? Why I know at least six. (They laugh.)
At least! If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you do?
Have the people you’ve gotten emotionally close to influenced your creations?
Yes? Your vision of woman?
Yes, absolutely. Completely transformed by certain women I have known, certain friends . . . For example, when I knew Thalita Getty-Thalita-You know her?
. . . my vision completely changed.
Your idea of woman?
And men, do they have any influence on your work?
Absolutely not at all.
Not at all?
Absolutely not! But from time to time in your life there have been women who have become your…your…your ideal and inspiration.
Ah, yes, absolutely. There are women who have completely transformed my view of fashion and if I hadn’t known them I woud never have arrived at this point in fasion, you see.
What do you do if you find that you must design something for a woman without any beauty of face or form?
I try not to put myself in that situation, poor things. I try to only be in agreeable circumstances.
Do you have a definite view of men and of women, of two sexes, or are the two variations of one, or is it something ambiguous-Woman?
Why are you always asking me about women? Because I’m a couturier?
No, it’s not a question of women, it’s more general: you have people, you define them . . .
No, not at all.
That’s what I was saying . . .
No, absolutely not. No, for me they are human beings, that’s all. I love them, I am attracted to them, physically, or psychically, or morally. . . . Classification isn’t part of it.
Do you like daring people?
What about people who talk about fashion?
Oh, yes. I detest that. I detest fashion ultimately. I adore clothes but I hate fashion.
And talking about it?
Yes. (They laugh.)
I’ll think of something else to ask you about. I like you because you have an extraordinary sensitivity . . .
. . . and because you are one of those rare creatures always searching for beauty in he things you do.
Yes, that’s what I’m always looking for. I’m an aesthete.
You are always looking for perfection are you aware of that?
Absolutely, I can’t avoid it. I’m constantly looking for perfection.
What have you been most deceived by?
I’m not deceived by people because I don’t pay attention to people.
Aren’t there qualities you look for in people?
No, because ultimately the qualities I see in people are what I perceive them to be. It is my vision of people that counts. It’s all projection. If I am deceived it’s my own doing. What interests me is my vision of others.
One of the things I admire most about you is that you always give credit to people.
I am for all the people I’m in contact with.
What do you think of Erte?
Oh, I adore him. I think he’s marvelous. I feel very close to him. I have no jealousies.
I know. That’s one of the things I admire most about you.
I’m very sure of myself – what I do and what I like.
That’s a rare quality in your world, fashion, where people are so unsure and intriguing.
You know me very well. (Laughs.)
I’ve got a good eye. I’ve seen that you would like to be above merely material things. You live in a bit of a dream world.
Yes, possibly. Yes, certainly. I’d really like to be in closer contact with life. I’m a little too distant, I guess. 1 like to place myself outside.
Has there been a woman or women in your life that you’ve been truly in love with?
Yes, one or two.
What did they represent to you?
They didn’t represent anything aesthetic. They weren’t muses at all. It was for me a completely new sentiment. It had nothing to do with fashion.
It didn’t enhance your creative life?
No. I couldn’t love a woman who inspired me to be totally disinterested. If I fell in love with a woman for an artistic reason, or from the point of view of my work, I think it would rob her of something.
What do you think of this country? America.
I adore America. It’s an extraordinary country. A new country.
You don’t feel out of it here?
No, do you?
Well, I’m a bit . . .
I love the contact with the people at home. I’m so secluded. Very alone.
I like America very much but I feel very surprised – every one seems to be social-climbing.
But people are like that everywhere. There are some extraordinary people here.
There are many creative people here because of competition.
People seem closer here. You have have an extraordinary rapport-intimacy really.
You like that?
Oh, yes – ‚cause I’m very timid.
I’m always a bit disarmed with a too rapid rapport. However with people in any country, when I really like them it’s instant. When I don’t know if I’m going to like them I’m disarmed if it’s too sudden.
It depends on the circumstance. In one’s work it’s nice to see people already biased in your favor.
But you must be used to that.
Yes. (They both laugh.)
Aren’t you a bit annoyed when women make themselves too available to you?
On the contrary, I adore it.
Does the fact of having revolutionized fashion and having arrived at the summit at such a young age upset you?
Possibly – I would surely have liked to know other things, more interesting, more real, less superficial. . .
Yes, and after this, what would you like to do?
Afterwards? I would like . . .I would very much like to write. I would very much like to write a book . . . A very, very beautiful book that would be a summation of everything I love, of all my thoughts about life, women, men, beauty . . .It would be a memoir . . . But I don’t have the patience right now to write it. I’m waiting ‚til I have the time.
You should do it now.
I can make notes.
Are you always making notes? Tapes every night?
I’m a little like that – although I do it in a different way.
I’ve seen some extraordinary drawings you’ve done. Do you have any plans to publish them?
I’ve no idea whatsoever.
You want to publish a book . . .
In any case I haven’t enough things yet, but I want very much to publish this book. It’s difficult. I don’t quite know what to do because, you’ve seen it, it’s very erotic.
But you who have dared to do so much should dare to do this – beauty is beauty.
Is there . . . Who is the person in your life who most impressed you? Whom you found most striking?
In my life?
That’s too difficult, I can’t . . .
Artistically, for example . . .
Who most impressed me? There are many . . . But I think, finally, one learns most from oneself, from personal, experience.
But you don’t think there is someone about whom you could say, „I got a lot from him „?
Artistically . . . When I started I was very young … I started with Christian Dior. He taught me the business, a way of seeing fabric . . . Yes, there are things one learns from others. I don’t think one can be alone, always alone; I mean in one’s field, it’s not possible.
I’ve noticed that you’re always in touch with things, you ‚re always observant.
Yes, that’s very important in my business; the life of women that I dress, that is, I always demand the lives of my models.
The trouble with most designers . . .
. . . is that they have an idea of women that they try to impose on them. I can all of a sudden forget the idea I’m working on when confronted with the body of the woman I’m dressing.
What’s good about you is that you have an understanding of the people, of the women, for whom you’re making something: ‚a meeting of minds.‘
Yes, I must have that to be able to work. I’m very unhappy when I sense that I’m confronted with a woman who is not responsive to me.
Responds to what you want?
Rather what she wants of me.
Did you ever want to be an actor, for example?
Yes, I’d very much like to be an actor. I’m too timid.
(Laughs.) In one of Andy’s films?
I think you should be an actor.
I could be, I don’t know, I’d love to act.
What’s the name of the movie you saw that you like the most in New York? What can you say about that movie?
Which movie? (Giggles.)
(In English) ‚Jewel.‘ (Laughs.)
Do you like erotic things?
Oh yes, absolutely. It’s one of the motors of emotional life in people.
Pornography – does it excite you?
(Sigh.) Pornography? I don’t know what that is. Pornography, eroticism, love, it’s all the same to me.
I think it’s eroticism as long as it’s beautiful; when it ceases to be beautiful, it’s pornography.
I don’t much draw a distinction. I don’t know to what we could apply that—in love all is possible.
Not really, I’m not all that much for beauty.
I mean things can be done beautifully or not.
Sure. It depends on who it is.
It’s what the people project.
Yes. I don’t care much for the distinction people draw between eroticism and pornography.
But there is no difference. It’s a question of beauty.
Exactly. It’s a question of degrees in relations between people in physical relations.
Is physicality very important to you?
Very. I think all human life is dependent on this contact between people.
The primary importance is on the physical, not the visual.
Are there any other questions?
I think you were marvelous. (In English:) Yes, marvelous, you’re the new Louella Parsons.
Do you have anything to add?
Yes, that you should continue to interview me.
(Bianca goes to phone. Yves continues in English:) She’s a fantastic journalist.
Andy: Oh really?
The best interview person I ever had.
Sheer poetry. That guy is completely disarming.
Andy: Who was it – Mick?
Yes, when I think he no longer loves me he says, „I love you. „
Isn’t that the truth; people are boring when we’re sure of them. Do you really think it’s boring?
Not always. Sometimes I like reassurance; I’m childish.
What are you looking for – your fur?
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