Tribute to the iconic French designer Yves Saint Laurent by six Parisian art museums

Yves Saint Laurent Aux Musées celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first YSL runway show with six Parisian museums paying tribute to the French fashion designer.

by STIRworldPublished on : Feb 18, 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.

Yves Saint Laurent’s Dress Tribute to Piet Mondrian (Fall-Winter 1965); Composition in Red, Blue and White II, 1937, Oil on canvas, Piet Mondrian | STIRworld
Yves Saint Laurent’s Dress Tribute to Piet Mondrian (Fall-Winter 1965); Composition in Red, Blue and White II, 1937, Oil on canvas, Piet Mondrian Image: Hélène Mauri, Courtesy of Centre Pompidou

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.

Saint Laurent <em>Smoking</em> tuxedos and satin dresses | STIRworld
Saint Laurent Smoking tuxedos and satin dresses Image: Nicolas Mathéus, Courtesy of Musée d Orsay

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.

Galerie d’Apollon, Musée du Louvre, Paris | STIRworld
Galerie d’Apollon, Musée du Louvre, Paris Image: Nicolas Mathéus, Courtesy of Musée du Louvre, Paris

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.

Yves Saint Laurent, Tribute to Pablo Picasso Jacket, Fall-Winter 1979; Portrait of Nusch Eluard, Fall 1937, Pablo Picasso | STIRworld
Yves Saint Laurent, Tribute to Pablo Picasso Jacket, Fall-Winter 1979; Portrait of Nusch Eluard, Fall 1937, Pablo Picasso Image: Nicolas Mathéus, Courtesy of Musée national Picasso-Paris

“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.

Tribute to Pierre Bonnard, Spring-Summer 2001 collection, Yves Saint Laurent | STIRworld
Tribute to Pierre Bonnard, Spring-Summer 2001 collection, Yves Saint Laurent Image: Nicolas Mathéus, Courtesy of Musée d’Art Moderne de 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.

Portrait of Yves Saint Laurent Image: @ysl from Instagram

(Text by Vatsala Sethi, Assistant Editorial Coordinator (Arts))

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