Pierre Bergé Might Sue Competing Yves Saint Laurent Biopic

Two films about the late designer are making their way into theaters this year. But only one of them has the blessing -- and access to the clothing archives -- of Saint Laurent's longtime business (and romantic) partner.
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Two films about the late designer are making their way into theaters this year. But only one of them has the blessing -- and access to the clothing archives -- of Saint Laurent's longtime business (and romantic) partner.
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The production of upcoming Yves Saint Laurent biopic Yves Saint Laurent is revealing just how fiercely protective Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's longtime business (and romantic) counterpart, is of his former partner's work and legacy.

As you may have heard, Yves Saint Laurent, directed by Jalil Lespert, is one of two competing biopics about the late designer set for release this year. This one, starring Pierre Niney as the designer, comes out in France tomorrow; the other, called Saint Laurent and directed by Bertrand Bonello, comes out in May. One major difference between the two is that Lespert's film has the support of Bergé and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, which means that the production has been allowed to use clothes from the YSL archives, and even film in its headquarters. Seventy-seven outfits, to be exact, were lent -- each of which, according to WWD, came with its own handler:

“We never loan out clothes, so each one came with a handler. Someone from the foundation was behind each outfit and the models were not allowed to sit down. It was very complicated, but we did it,” Bergé said. “I lent him the clothes on several precise conditions: that we got to pick the models, hair and makeup.”

Oh, it also meant that Bergé isn't going to sue them. The same cannot be said for Bonello's production.

Since Bergé did not cooperate with Saint Laurent, he has made it clear that he won't hesitate to sue if the film includes any reproductions of outfits or sketches. “I certainly won’t seek a ban on his movie, but I do own the moral right to Yves Saint Laurent’s oeuvre, and if the moral right is breached -- in other words, if clothes or sketches that are not by Yves Saint Laurent are shown -- then I do reserve the right to take action,” he said.

In that case, it sounds like it's going to be pretty difficult for Bonello to make a very realistic biopic and compete with Lespert. Plus, Lespert's film actually looks really good. Check out the trailer here.