Monday, October 17, 2011

YVES SAINT LAURENT

By Eva Fydrych

Yves Saint Laurent – Retrospective



“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” - Yves Saint Laurent




An excellent fashion exhibition, which was shown in the Petit Palais in Paris in 2010, has arrived in Madrid, Spain. The exhibition explores in detail the work of Yves Saint Laurent through 150 haute couture and prêt-à-porter models and a wide selection of photographs, films and drawings. The show takes a chronological look at the creative development of the designer, from his earliest beginnings through to his latest creations. 

Yves Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936 – June 1, 2008) was a French fashion designer and one of the greatest names in the fashion history. By the age of 13 he was already designing dresses for his mother and sister. His big break came when he was only 17 years old. The shy young designer began to work for a fashion legend, Christian Dior, and by the time he was 21 years old, Saint Laurent was in charge of Dior's empire.

The inspiration for Saint Laurent's designs came from different cultures around the world. An important source of inspiration for both his clothing and his choice of runway models was his childhood in Africa. He was also the first major designer who started using models from different ethnic backgrounds. Long before Gaultier, Saint Laurent borrowed tribal looks from Africa, sending out models with conical bras made from shells.

Saint Laurent's goal in making clothes for women was “not just to make women more beautiful but to reassure them and give them confidence”. His designs dominated the catwalks of the 1960s and 1970s. Saint Laurent's fashion was a translation of what was happening on the street into elegant clothing that reflected more liberated times. In the early days the designer was the "bad boy" of fashion. In the 1960s, women were banned from restaurants for wearing YSL trouser suits, and in the 1970s he provoked outrage when he showed a transparent chiffon blouse.

Saint Laurent, who believed that "dressing is a way of life", ascended to icon status in the 1980s. He became the first designer to have a retrospective dedicated to his work in his own lifetime, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

The designer's final show in January 2002, after which he retired to his house in Marrakech, was treated by the French as an event of national significance. Two thousand guests converged on the Georges Pompidou centre to see more than 350 classic pieces from the YSL label, as well as 40 new gowns. Saint Laurent believed he was the last true couturier. He maintained the highest standards of classic cut and tailoring, and he used to receive a standing ovation after every collection was presented.

In December 2007 the designer was appointed a Grand Officier of the Légion d’honneur by President Nicolas Sarkozy who said in tribute, “Yves Saint Laurent was convinced that beauty was a necessary luxury for all men and all women.”



YVES SAINT LAURENT - RETROSPECTIVE

Dates
From October 6, 2011 to January 8, 2012 

Location
Salas Recoletos. Salas de Exposiciones de Fundación Mapfre
Paseo de Recoletos 23
28004 Madrid, Spain
Tel.: +34 915811628

Website



All photos taken by Eva Fydrych in Madrid, October 2011.


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