Rising French actor and model Gaspard Ulliel is set to play the late Yves Saint Laurent in a feature film about the legendary designer. According to Women's Wear Daily, "Saint Laurent" will begin production in the spring of 2013. Bertrand Bonello, who directed "House of Tolerance," will direct.
Though Ulliel appeared in the 2007 film "Hannibal Rising," U.S. audiences are largely unfamiliar with his work. But some may recognize the 27-year-old from the Longchamp ads he recently appeared in opposite Kate Moss.
Saint Laurent was born in French Algeria in 1936 and was bullied as a boy because his peers believed (correctly) he was homosexual. According to Biography.com, fashion design was his escape. After moving to Paris as a teen, the young designer quickly gained recognition in the fashion industry. At just 21 years old, he became the chief designer at Christian Dior.
After opening his own fashion house in the 1960s, Saint Laurent became an icon and noted visionary. Despite suffering from depression and battling cocaine and alcohol addiction, he remained an influencial cultural figure until his death from brain cancer in 2008 at the age of 71.
As the New York Times notes, "Saint Laurent achieved his greatest triumphs in the midst of a notoriously turbulent emotional life, giving him mythical stature in his own time."
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Following his death, the Telegraph referred to him as "the greatest figure in French fashion in the 20th century, and could be said to have created the modern woman's wardrobe."
TIME has said that Saint Laurent "was known for designing clothes that reflected women's changing role in society: more confident personally, sexually, and in the workplace." He is credited with popularizing such trends as the safari jacket and developing the women's tuxedo suit.
There have been three documentaries made about his life, "L'Amour Fou" (2009), "Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times" (2002), and “Yves Saint Laurent: 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris" (2002). The films focus on the couturier's personal troubles and career triumphs while exploring his remarkable contributions to the fashion world.
In June, the Yves Saint Laurent brand was renamed Saint Laurent Paris. It is currently run by designer Hedi Slimane.