The first complete retrospective of the great master of ‘HauteCouture’, the insatiable, the incorrigible, the inimitable Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective is now on view at the Petit Palais in Paris. No other designer, be it Christian Dior or Coco Chanel, has captured the revolutionary spirit of Paris fashion like Yves Saint Laurent, with over forty years of provocative and innovative designs. Style is not the only factor in his success, for the greatest achievement lies in his respect for the female being, her essence and not just her form. Saint Laurent broke all the rules when he introduced men’s clothing into women’s fashion, proclaiming the undeniable right of a woman to wear a tuxedo. In the guise of his muse, the French actress Catherine Deneuve, the sophisticated, liberated woman was born and destined to live on in Yves Saint Laurent!
Yves Saint Laurent began his career in 1955 working for the legendary couturier, Christian Dior, in Paris. At the ripe old age of 18, Yves is designated successor to the belated Christian Dior. In 1958, Yves Saint Laurent stunned the planet with his Trapeze collection that pre-destined the free wheeling feeling of the 60′s, heralding Saint Laurent to the forefront of the fashion world. Although it was Coco Chanel who truly liberated women, with her famous jersey trousers and tees, Pierre Bergé contends that “It was Yves Saint Laurent that empowered them”. The sheer elegance of the fabric and the cut that hung perfectly from a real woman’s body, and not a coat hanger, won Yves Saint Laurent international acclaim for decades. The creations of Saint Laurent are not, and have never been for all women, they are for strong willed women who enjoy exercising their power and style.
“All my dresses come from a gesture. A dress that doesn’t reflect upon, or make you think about, a gesture is not good”, said Yves Saint Laurent.
The exhibition presents a panoramic view of the life and work of Yves Saint Laurent. Curated by his long-time companion, benefactor and friend, Pierre Bergé, the retrospective is devised along a thematic approach, tracing his early days with Christian Dior, Yves’s idol, mentor and teacher. The implication of art in the fashionable creations of the Saint Laurent, that continually pay tribute to the great painters and their models, such as Vélasquez, Delacroix, Van Gogh, Braque, Picasso and Mondrian, have earned him the right to expose his designs in the Petit Palais, where no fashion designer has ever gone before. The script of the exhibition pays tribute to a great artistic soul, where the most spectacular dresses and collections are brought to life in a classical stage setting. As Pierre Bergé said in reference to his belated partner, Yves Saint Laurent, “With him, everything changes”. Although the collection holds 307 pieces, the Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective is more of a private journal than a public book. The visit is like a trip through fashion’s wonderland, with a time warp back to the sixties with Mondrian in his 1965 Fall/Winter Collection, the revolutionary Smoking Collection in 1966, a brief glimpse into the psychodelic seventies with the Scandalous Fall/Winter Collection of 1971, brimming with post-war inspirations, a long hard look at the rocking eighties to the Bird of Paradise style of the nineties.
Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective at the Petit Palais– Through August 29, 2010
(Tuesday through Sunday 10 am – 6 pm, Thursday late night until 9 pm, Closed Mondays and Holidays)
Petit Palais Avenue Winston Churchill 75008 01 53 43 40 00 M Champs-Elysées Clemenceau