by Dilpreet BhullarSep 17, 2022
There was a time when the French designer, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, also known as Yves Saint Laurent or YSL, was struggling to make his collection. During that time, he went to see an art exhibition on the Ballets Russes and discovered the maquettes of the costumes that Picasso made for Sergei Diaghilev’s Three-Cornered Hat. The next day, the fashion designer gathered pieces of black velvet and a blue velvet skirt and inserted velvet panels into the blue of the skirt. Everything followed for him, and he remembered it perfectly.
His eponymous clothing brand was established on January 29, 1962, with his business partner and then lover, Pierre Bergé. Since then, the designer took hold of his eccentric vision and foremost style that began the journey of his remarkable career. The first fashion designer to conglomerate a fashion house with artists and the arts of the past, he “translated” two-dimensional contemporary paintings into new three-dimensional works of art. Piet Mondrian’s vivid use of color and bold-thick lines inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s Autumn-Winter 1965 collection. The couturier paid homage to the abstract artist by designing cocktail dresses influenced by Mondrian’s geometric lines, bold colors, and modern style. Throughout his exceptional career, he paid tribute to visual artists including Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Fernand Léger, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. The work of Yves Saint Laurent is culturally known for incorporating his taste in fashion along with his art-connoisseur personality. His immense zeal for fashion coupled with his love for the visual arts, both contemporary and historical, led to the brand that Yves Saint Laurent is today.
This year, Yves Saint Laurent Aux Musées is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first Yves Saint Laurent runway show. This new exhibition looks at the cultures and artistic movements that inspired the celebrated fashion designer. The exhibition running from January 29 to May 15, 2022, is conceived and made possible by the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent. The Yves Saint Laurant Aux Musées encourages a collaboration between select garments, including the french label couturier’s most iconic designs, and the permanent art collection of six prominent Parisian museums. Celebrating the genius of Saint Laurent and legendary artists, the exhibition links the world of fashion to the artistic realm. The exhibition is curated by Madison Cox, President of the Fondation Pierre Bergé –Yves Saint Laurent, along with Stephan Janson and Mouna Mekouar.
Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée national Picasso-Paris, and Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris are the six partnering France based institutions. We will witness the iconic designer as an artist entrenched and in accord with the significant art movements of the 20th century at the Centre Pompidou–France’s National Museum of Modern Art. At the Musée national Picasso-Paris, we observe how the unambiguous leading artist of the century, Pablo Picasso, inspired the couturier’s work. The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris interweaves the artistic subjects and viewpoint of the French couturier, along with his inimitable eye for the interplay between the arts. In Galerie d’Apollon, one of the most prestigious rooms in the palace designed by Charles Le Brun for Louis XIV at the Musée du Louvre, visitors are introduced to exceptional clothes highlighting Yves Saint Laurent’s zeal for gold, the colour of the sun, and his love for contemporary art and contemporary artists along with sources of inspiration.
“Like Proust, I am fascinated most of all by my perceptions of a world in transition,” said the couturier. His Proustian passion and his art of challenging the gender codes will be explored at the Musée d’Orsay. Imperative archive materials, meticulously preserved over the years from the fashion house by Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent, will be exhibited at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.
This enormous project retracts the creative genius, Yves Saint Laurent’s journey by offering a new perspective. The exhibition will enable and encourage visitors to form their itineraries, directing them into new aesthetic terrain.
(Text by Vatsala Sethi, Assistant Editorial Coordinator (Arts))