YSL – The Sensational Exhibition
My dear reader, today is a special day. The singing birds awakened me, I opened my ” fenêtre “
and an electric blue sky behind the Eiffel tower blew me away. It is maybe a sign; I must confess I am
a little bit superstitious as was Christian Dior.
I take my ritual “Café au lait & croissant ” sitting and writing on my Ipad “the
essence of Paris, chapter YSL – Michelangelo ” preparing to my
unforgettable visit to an unique tribute to YSL – thanks to Pierre Bergé & the Yves Saint
Laurent arrived in Paris on 1953 at the age of 17 years old, innocent and full
of dreams like me …
With the help of my
imaginary muse, let me guide you to his extraordinary world …
YSL “I have
always placed respect for this profession above all else – It is not altogether
an art, but it requires an artist to exist”.
The Dior Years
Dior saw the sketches drawn by YSL, he immediately hired him. But it was not until
in August 1957 that Monsieur Dior told Lucienne – YSL’s mother at the studio –
“he will be my successor”.
At the age of 21
YSL became the Head Designer of the house of Dior after the unexpected death of
Christian Dior in October 1957.
collection 1958 catapulted this Young designer on the couturier world with his
a softer version of Dior’s New Look … his trapèze line … which included
dresses with a narrow shoulder and gentle flare at the bottom
The autumn /
winter 1960 haute couture collection. Almost exclusively black, it contained elements
foreign to haute couture: the biker jacket, the loose-knit cardigan, the bonnet
YSL was taking
inspiration out of the street: fashion with a social edge. “For me that ‘s
the primary definition of my style. And I was also the first time that I worked
hard at putting poetry into my garments“.
“It was by
perfecting the basic garments – A marvellous way to work- that I created my
style, become what I am and succeeded in transcending Fashion”.
“I explore by
unfolding the fabric on the model, walking around her; making her move until I
have the sudden sensation of the dress and the suit”.
factor with Yves is his refusal to leave his childhood behind. Totally absorbed
in his creativity. “I succeeded in becoming the magician who transforms rough cloth
into brocade, a Mirror into a lake, glass into gems, ribbons into a forest,
tulle into mist.”
As Michelangelo said: “I saw the angel in the marble and
carved until I set him free”. YSL left the stage and went into
the street, clothes readily became spectacle, with each new collection a change
to bring his dreams to life.
passion for life and commitment for work equally Yves.
Creating a New
Chanel gave women
freedom, YSL gave them power.
” Fashion passes, style remains ” YSL.
In the rebel
spirit that was typical of him, he drew on two fields seemingly far removed from
haute couture: utilitarian clothing and uniforms on the one hand, and the male
wardrobe on the other.
The New ideas
were not responses to the feminist cause. To wear a man ‘s suit is not to
dress as a man, but rather to avail oneself of the envelope that is part of
male independence and assurance.
Laurent and Women
“A woman’s most
beautiful garment is her nakedness”. YSL worked with transparency, veiling the
body like a hymn to the beauty of nudity.
became a sculptor in this diaphanous emphasis of the female body.
The aim was a
wardrobe that let each woman express her personality. He dressed her, like an
author writing a play. The Saint Laurent women become more themselves.
He was surrounded
by women: The Duchess of Windsor, Madame Arturo Lopez-Willshaw, Nan Kempner,
the Comtesse de Ribes, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Lauren Bacall, Princess
Grace of Monaco, Mouna Ayoub, Françoise Giroud, Elsa Schiaparelli, Diana
Vreeland, Catherine Deneuve, Betty Catroux, Loulou de la Falaise and Paloma Picasso.
Summer of 71:
The Outrage Collection
On January 29th
1971 new Spring / Summer collection: green fox jacket over a tank top,
camouflage dress, red satin corselet, Platform shoes, enormous turbans worn by
outrageously made-up mannequins. This was the 40’s Collection, inspired by the
fashion of those years.
shocked not so much visually as morally.” Personally I prefer to shock rather than
bore people with the same old stuff” – YSL. This retro look soon took over the
Streets. Old was in!
wardrobe can take you anywhere. On the most beautiful trip imaginable” – YSL
Saint Laurent was
fascinated by reduction to the essentials, removed al superfluous details: but
at the same time he was tempted by extravagance and exuberance down on his
garments, maybe because of his attachment to the world of the theatre and
He comes up with
dresses that tell stories and transport us all over the world like the David
His taste for the
exotic emerges through his choice of colours, fabrics, accessories and even
Laurent and Art
A lifetime lover
of painting. He lived surrounded by works of art and perhaps his invisible muses.
The pursuit of
beauty in art became widespread in the Renaissance. In Saint Laurent’s time he
transcended beauty from the pictorial or the poetic into textile form, the
little king of haute couture set the static in motion on a woman’s body.
wool jersey dress, autumn /winter 1965 haute couture
collection. « Tribute to Piet Mondrian »
another source of inspiration. Embroidered on some models like snippets of
memories, titles and lines from Apollinaire, enchanted by Cocteau and Aragon.
The idleness and sterility are a
real social activity just as it is in art, critical to the creation
The Pop Art
Autumn/Winter collection arrived in 1966: the first time in the history of
haute couture that a woman paraded in an evening suit. The Tuxedo was an
illustrated the new seductiveness YSL was after: femininity intensified by an
emblematic borrowing from the male wardrobe.
“I know that for
many years I did my work meticulously and demandingly. There were no
concessions. What has always come first for me is respect for a métier that is
not quite an art, but which needs an artist in order to exist. I don’t think I
have ever betrayed the teenager who showed his first sketches to Christian Dior
with unshakeable faith and conviction. Hat Faith and conviction have never left
me. I have fought for elegance and beauty”.
couture Farewell speech,
7 January 2002
Yves Saint Laurent
Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
11 March – 29 August 2010
Yves Saint Laurent: Archives de la création 1962 – 2002
IMEC, abbaye d’Ardenne
8 juin – 31 octobre 2010
Bon Chers amis,
I recommend this divine book related to YSL …
Please do not hesitate to leave a comment about YSL a tributo to another master like Michelangelo