The interview/ Yves Saint Laurent by Bianca Jagger

You love the label, perhaps you already have seen “Saint Laurent”, Bertrand Bonello’s biopic, at the cinema, yet it is about time to remember the man himself, in his own words. Back in January 1973, when Interview magazine first featured Christian Dior’s onetime protege, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was a premium member of Paris’s jet set, a fixture at Studio 54, and a friend to Andy Warhol. In this conversation, YSL spoke with legendary Bianca Jagger about beauty, pornography, and why he “adore[d] clothes, but hate[d] fashion.” Their very Saint Laurent discussion is reprinted below.

BIANCA JAGGER: What is on our mind, Yves?


JAGGER: Always pretty.

SAINT LAURENT: I can’t say.

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

SAINT LAURENT: [In English] I would like to be sit…

JAGGER: [In English] There—Voila, that’s a perfect place. Monsieur Saint Laurent… (She laughs.)

SAINT LAURENT: Mrs. J. [They both laugh]

JAGGER: 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?

SAINT LAURENT: Disappointed? No, not at all. Certainly not. Definitely not.

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

SAINT LAURENT: With women?

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

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

JAGGER: Several ideal women?

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

JAGGER: But the epitome… A few women…

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

JAGGER: No, these few women.

SAINT LAURENT: Few? Why I know at least six. [They laugh.]

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


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

SAINT LAURENT: Yes, a lot.

JAGGER: Yes? Your vision of woman?

SAINT LAURENT: Yes, absolutely. Completely transformed be certain women I have known, certain friends… For example, when I knew Thalita Getty—Thalita—You know her?


SAINT LAURENT: …my vision completely changed.

JAGGER: Your idea of woman?

SAINT LAURENT: Yes, absolutely.

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

SAINT LAURENT: Absolutely not at all.

JAGGER: Not at all?

SAINT LAURENT: Absolutely not.

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

SAINT LAURENT: Ah, yes, absolutely. There are women who have completely transformed my view of fashion and if I hadn’t shown them I would never have arrived at this point in fashion, you see.

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

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

Images from Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent, Thames & Hudson