The Arrangement is the third incarnation of the international art enterprise, SELF—curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello. The initiative aims to find artists that evoke the Saint Laurent attitude of confidence, individuality and self-expression. To this end, Vaccarello commissioned individuals who were aligned with his own values and the spirit of the brand. “The Saint Laurent woman has never been submissive,” he says. “She makes all her own decisions.”
SELF launched at Paris Photo 2018 with an exhibition by Japanese photographer Daidō Moriyama, followed by an installation from performance artist Vanessa Beecroft at Art Basel Miami. Vaccarello gave the artists full reign; their only brief was self-expression. Less Than Zero, American Psycho, and White writer Bret Easton Ellis is the latest recruit to join the multidisciplinary project—and The Arrangement marks his latest directorial vision.
In this film about jealousy and romantic obsession, two young men vie for the attention of a woman whose affection seemingly swings between the suitors. “The Windmills of Your Mind,”as covered by Petula Clark, acts as both the soundtrack and narrative to this tale of alternating passions. “The windmills of your mind are the things you project onto a neutral reality when you are trapped within the throes of desire,” Ellis comments. The director juxtaposes the dreamy, elegant surroundings of the characters’ world with the reality of their emotional turmoil. “Infatuation can often make the tactile world seem fictional,” he adds. “This is why I wanted the film to have an LA feel—a place where fantasy and reality often collide.”
Ellis’s career has resisted categorization as he modulates between novelist, scriptwriter, podcaster and director. The interdisciplinary contrarian has never shied away from self-expression or been cowed by conventional opinion. Echoing Ellis’s approach, Vaccarello says, “Saint Laurent represents a form of freedom.”