Catherine Deneuve is working on a film set in Paris. She sounds a bit annoyed on the phone. She hesitates and asks how I got her phone number. She is suspicious. “It’s not possible. If you want to do an interview, talk to my press office.”
Before she hangs up, I am able to say, “I wanted to ask you a word about or a memory of your friend Yves Saint-Laurent.” The actress’s demeanour suddenly changes. Her voice broken with sorrow, she pauses a long time to reflect. She then responds emotionally:
I would like to point out one thing in particular. He is a person that can’t be replaced. He was an extraordinary, truly extraordinary man.
Would you say he was a genius?
He most certainly had genius in him. He was extraordinary in his work, different from anyone else.
What kind of relationship did you have?
He was a loyal friend, a partner, so close that I opened my heart to him. I was very attached to him. The least I can say is that I am deeply sorry.
He called you “Catherine, my sweetness.” Was the feeling mutual?
He said I was the most adorable, protective friend. He adored me, and I adored him.
Did you consider yourself a sort of “Mrs. Saint-Laurent?”
I would send him bunches of white flowers at home. He adored that flower.
What does Saint-Laurent’s death mean for the world of fashion?
It’s an overwhelming loss. He represented a style, a world, and an era. Truly something that can’t be replaced.
Does he leave any heirs?
Talent can’t be inherited at all. It is something unique, which in this case, belonged only to him.
Are there other designers that come close to his talent?
Was he the only great one in fashion? Nobody else is comparable?
The two greats were Chanel and Saint-Laurent.
What did Saint-Laurent’s greatness consist of?
Yves wasn’t just a designer. He was a creator.
With these words when it seemed as if she had forgotten that she said she didn’t want to talk, she is once again politely cold.
I beg of you to excuse me, but I really must go. I am in a meeting. I don’t yet feel like talking about Yves. That’s enough.
3rd June, 2008