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August 19, 2014

Fall Reads: YSL's Private Marrakech

By Julian Sancton | Books

Fall Reads: YSL's Private Marrakech
Photo by Grant Cornett

This year has seen the release of not one but two biopics of Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008. One, Yves Saint Laurent, was approved by his longtime partner and business manager, Pierre Bergé. The other, Cannes con­tender Saint Laurent, was not, and had to re-create YSL’s iconic designs from scratch. Both were (unsurprisingly) visually stunning. But the year’s most intimate look at the enigmatic couturier is Bergé’s own moving tribute to his and YSL’s life in Marrakech, titled Yves Saint Laurent: A Moroccan Passion (Abrams, September). First published in French to coincide with a 2010 exhibit at Marrakech’s Jardin Majorelle, the designer’s final resting place, the book takes the form of a journal, with candid photos, YSL’s sketches of Moroccan-inspired haute couture and text scrawled in the 83-year-old Bergé’s shaky hand. The scrapbook feels like an invitation into a circle of fabulous expatriates—with cameos from guests like Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Loulou de la Falaise and Catherine Deneuve—luxuriating in a cloistered, Orientalist reverie.

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