Yves Saint Laurent was undoubtedly one of the most influential fashion designers of the second half of the 20th century. His fame stems from his splendid, controversial and avant-garde body of work inspired by the social changes and the arts of his time. Today, the name of his legendary firm has a global presence, but few know about the early years of this creative genius. To vindicate his work and celebrate his legacy, The Bowes Museum presents a retrospective of the great French couturier at Barnard Castle, County Durham, from July 11 to October 25, 2015.
The Bowes Museum.
The exhibition Yves Saint Laurent: Style Is Eternal highlights the relevance of his creations during his life, the ideas and concerns that formed his stance on fashion, and how he understood the concept of women's clothing. The exhibit will showcase 50 works that include his Mondrian dresses, his Russian collection, and his iconic tuxedo--the first female version of the classic men's attire. Saint Laurent set out to advance women rights through garments traditionally identified with men, but stylized with the elegance of femininity. "If Chanel gave freedom to women, Yves Saint Laurent claims it," said Pierre Bergé, his inseparable companion, and co-founder of the firm.
Pieces like the pea jacket from 1962, the safari jacket, the first pantsuit from 1967, and the jumpsuit from 1968, are perfect examples of the designer´s approach. They will be on view alongside accessories, original drawings and a selection of fabrics.
The designer was also passionate about art. He found inspiration in artwork and became a serious collector. In fact, since 1965, Saint Laurent decided to honor his favorite artists with garments inspired by their particular styles. There were tributes to Mondrian, Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Van Gogh, among others. Some of these designs will also be on view at the London show.
Not all of Saint Laurent’s ideas were well received by critics at the time but were accepted, welcomed and admired by the general public from the 1950s to the end of his life in 2008. This exhibition allows us to understand the development of Yves Saint Laurent’s "unique style". As the designer himself once said: "Fashions fade, style is eternal." ■
PHOTOS: Courtesy The Bowes Museum.
More on this topic
Yves Saint Laurent: A Legacy of Good Taste
Yves Saint Laurent’s personal archives in digital format at the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.
Yves Saint-Laurent: Controversial Until the End
Two films are being produced about the life of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
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