Flashback:
YVES SAINT LAURENT
by Bianca Jagger

Am 1. August 2018 wäre Yves Saint Laurent 82 Jahre alt geworden. In der Januar-Ausgabe der amerikanischen Interview von 1973 spricht er mit Bianca Jagger über Schönheit, Pornografie und warum er Klamotten verehrt aber Fashion hasst.

Bianca Jagger: What is on your mind, Yves?

Yves Saint Laurent: Many things …

BJ: Always pretty.

YSL: I can’t say.

BJ: Do you think you can speak in front of this machine? It’s not really the right time.

YSL: (In English) I would like to be sit …

BJ: (In Englisch) There – Voila, that’s a perfect place, Monsieur Saint Laurent … (She laughs)

YSL: Mrs. J. (They both laugh.)

BJ: 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?

YSL: Disappointed? No, not at all. Certainly not. Definitely not.

BJ: Do you feel that you can give everything you want to?

YSL: With women?

BJ: Aren’t there any women beyond your fantasy and imagination?

YSL: No, not at all. Because I don’t at all search for an ideal woman, but several ideal women.

BJ: Several ideal women?

YSL: Yes, each model I have represents a type of ideal women to me.

BJ: But the epitome … a few women …

YSL: Yes, in a certain sense … Why so few women?

BJ: No, these few women.

YSL: Few? Why I know at least six. (They laugh.)

BJ: At least! If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you do?

YSL: Nothing. Live.

BJ: Have the people you’ve gotten emotionally close to influenced your creations?

YSL: Yes, absolutely. Completely transformed by certain women I have known, certain friends … For example, when I knew Thalita Getty – Thalita – You know her?

BJ: Yes.

YSL: … my vision completely changed.

BJ: Your idea of woman?

YSL: Yes, absolutely.

BJ: And men, do they have any influence on your work?

YSL: Absolutely not at all.

BJ: Not at all?

YSL: Absolutely not.

BJ: Absolutely not! But from time to time in your life there have been women who have become your … your … your ideal and inspiration.

YSL: 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.

BJ: What do you do if you find that you must design something for a woman without any beauty of face or form?

YSL: I try not to put myself in that situation, poor things. I try to only be in agreeable circumstances.

BJ: 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?

YSL: Why are you always asking me about women? Because I’m a couturier?

BJ: No, it’s not a question of women, it’s more general: you have people, you define them …

YSL: No.

BJ: No?

YSL: No, not at all.

BJ: That’s what I was saying …

YSL: 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.

BJ: Do you like daring people?

YSL: Yes, sure.

BJ: What about people who talk about fashion?

YSL: Oh, yes. I detest that. I detest fashion ultimately. I adore clothes but I hate fashion.

BJ: And talking about it?

YSL: Yes. (They laugh.)

BJ: I’ll think of something else to ask you about. I like you because you have an extraordinary sensitivity …

YSL: Yes.

BJ: … and because you are one of those rare creatures always searching for beauty in the things you do.

YSL: Yes, that’s what I’m always looking for. I’m an aesthete.

BJ: You are always looking for perfection are you aware of that?

YSL: Absolutely, I can’t avoid it. I’m constantly looking for perfection.

BJ: What have you been most deceived by?

YSL: I’m not deceived by people because I don’t pay attention to people.

BJ: Aren’t there qualities you look for in people?

YSL: 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.

BJ: One of the things I admire most about you is that you always give credit to people.

YSL: I am for all the people I’m in contact with.

BJ: What do you think of Erte?

YSL: Oh, I adore him. I think he’s marvelous. I feel very close to him. I have no jealousies.

BJ: I know. That’s one of the things I admire most about you.

YSL: I’m very sure of myself – what I do and what I like.

BJ: That’s a rare quality in your world, fashion, where people are so unsure and intriguing.

YSL: You know me very well. (Laughs.)

BJ: 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.

YSL: Yes, possibly. Yes, certainly. I’d really like to be in closer contact with life. I’m a little too distant, I guess. I like to place myself outside.

BJ: Has there been a woman or women in your life that you’ve been truly in love with?

YSL: Yes, one or two.

BJ: What did they represent to you?

YSL: 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.

BJ: It didn’t enhance your creative life?

YSL: 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.

BJ: What do you think of this country? America.

YSL: I adore America. It’s an extraordinary country. A new country.

BJ: You don’t feel out of it here?

YSL: No, do you?

BJ: Well, I’m a bit …

YSL: I love the contact with the people at home. I’m so secluded. Very alone.

BJ: I like America very much but I feel very surprised – every one seems to be social-climbing.

YSL: But people are like that everywhere. There are some extraordinary people here.

BJ: There are many creative people here because of competition.

YSL: People seem closer here. You have have an extraordinary rapport-intimacy really.

BJ: You like that?

YSL: Oh, yes – because I’m very timid.

BJ: 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.

YSL: It depends on the circumstance. In one’s work it’s nice to see people already biased in your favor.

BJ: But you must be used to that.

YSL: Yes. (They both laugh.)

BJ: Aren’t you a bit annoyed when women make themselves too available to you?

YSL: On the contrary, I adore it.

BJ: Not Embarrassing?

YSL: No.

BJ: Does the fact of having revolutionized fashion and having arrived at the summit at such a young age upset you? 

YSL: Possibly – I would surely have liked to know other things, more interesting, more real, less superficial …

BJ: Yes, and after this, what would you like to do?

YSL: 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.

BJ: You should do it now.

YSL: I can make notes.

BJ: Are you always making notes? Tapes every night?

YSL: I’m a little like that – although I do it in a different way.

BJ: I’ve seen some extraordinary drawings you’ve done. Do you have any plans to publish them?

YSL: Yes, definitely.

BJ: When?

YSL: I’ve no idea whatsoever.

BJ: You want to publish a book …

YSL: 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.

BJ: But you who have dared to do so much should dare to do this – beauty is beauty.

YSL: Sure. (Laughs.)

BJ: Is there … Who is the person in your life who most impressed you? Whom you found most striking?

YSL: In my life?

BJ: Yes.

YSL: That’s too difficult, I can’t …

BJ: Artistically, for example …

YSL: Who most impressed me? There are many … But I think, finally, one learns most from oneself, from personal, experience.

BJ: But you don’t think there is someone about whom you could say, „I got a lot from him“?

YSL: 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.

BJ: I’ve noticed that you’re always in touch with things, you ‚re always observant.

YSL: 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.

BJ: The trouble with most designers …

YSL: … 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.

BJ: 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.‘

YSL: 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.

BJ: Responds to what you want?

YSL: Rather what she wants of me.

BJ: Did you ever want to be an actor, for example?

YSL: Yes, I’d very much like to be an actor. I’m too timid.

BJ: (Laughs.) In one of Andy’s films?

YSL: Why not?

BJ: I think you should be an actor.

YSL: I could be, I don’t know, I’d love to act.

BJ: What’s the name of the movie you saw that you like the most in New York? What can you say about that movie?

YSL: Which movie? (Giggles.)

BJ: „BIJOU“

YSL: (In English) „Jewel.“ (Laughs.)

BJ: Do you like erotic things?

YSL: Oh yes, absolutely. It’s one of the motors of emotional life in people.

BJ: Pornography – does it excite you?

YSL: (Sigh.) Pornography? I don’t know what that is. Pornography, eroticism, love, it’s all the same to me.

BJ: I think it’s eroticism as long as it’s beautiful; when it ceases to be beautiful, it’s pornography.

YSL: I don’t much draw a distinction. I don’t know to what we could apply that — in love all is possible.

BJ: Not really, I’m not all that much for beauty.

YSL: I mean things can be done beautifully or not.

BJ: Sure. It depends on who it is.

YSL: It’s what the people project.

BJ: Yes. I don’t care much for the distinction people draw between eroticism and pornography.

YSL: But there is no difference. It’s a question of beauty.

BJ: Exactly. It’s a question of degrees in relations between people in physical relations.

YSL: Is physicality very important to you?

BJ: Very. I think all human life is dependent on this contact between people.

YSL: The primary importance is on the physical, not the visual.

BJ: Are there any other questions?

YSL: I think you were marvelous. (In English:) Yes, marvelous, you’re the new Louella Parsons.

BJ: Do you have anything to add?

YSL: Yes, that you should continue to interview me. (Bianca goes to phone. Yves continues in English:) She’s a fantastic journalist.

ANDY WARHOL: Oh really?

YSL: The best interview person I ever had.

BJ: Sheer poetry. That guy is completely disarming.

YSL: Who was it — Mick?

BJ: Yes, when I think he no longer loves me he says, “I love you.”

YSL: Isn’t that the truth; people are boring when we’re sure of them. Do you really think it’s boring?

BJ: Not always. Sometimes I like reassurance; I’m childish.

YSL: What are you looking for—your fur?

BJ: My pussy.

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