Harmonie's Look on Fashion

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Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

There is only a few weeks left to discover the magnificent  exhibition about Yves Saint Laurent taking place in the Petit Palais in Paris. This exhibition is the first ever presenting the entire work of the designer. Over 300 pieces from Haute Couture and Ready-to-Wear collections are recalling the beginnings of YSL by Dior with the famous collection “Trapeze” in 1958 up to the safari jacket in 1967 and the sumptuous evening gowns in 2002.

Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

“I have always placed above all the respect I have for this profession, which is not totally an Art but which needs an artist to exist.”

Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

In 1955, Yves Saint Laurent entered the Christian Dior Couture House as a personal assistant.  At the death of the designer, Yves Saint Laurent took his place and presented his first collection “Trapeze”, which received a great success with French and international press.

Day dress, “Trapeze collection”, Dior (1958) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

The last collection that YSL designed for Dior (Fall/Winter 1960) was not as welcomed as the former collections because the designer introduced new garments that were previously excluded from Haute Couture collections such as biker jacket or snow hat. The public was shocked by YSL’s inspiration coming from the streets. Still, it is only the beginning of the Saint Laurent fashion revolution.

YSL presented his first collection under his own name in 1962. The pea coat, the sailor tunic were first presented during the collections of 1962. The safari jacket appeared in 1967 and was inspired from the Afrika Korps.

Safari Jacket, belt and bermuda shorts, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1968) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

With the creation of the brand Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, YSL invented the concept of luxury ready-to-wear sold in a network of boutiques. In coherence with his appeal for street inspiration, YSL dreamed of dressing students at La Sorbonne or at least of offering more affordable prices. Yet YSL claimed high quality and checked each pattern himself. The garments are different from the ones offered in the Haute Couture lines. Day looks are more functional, sportswear materials like jersey, denim, velvet are preferred and lots of print fabrics are offered. Evening looks are dressed up with tuxedos and flowing dresses.

In 1971, Yves Saint Laurent launched his first fragrance and decided to pose naked for the add campaign. He wanted to shock people and showed his taste for provocation. Some magazines refused the campaign, some offered to display it for free: it is a total scandal.

Yves Saint Laurent, Nu (1971), picture by Jeanloup Sieff – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

“One can make an entire trip through a wardrobe. The most sumptuous imaginary travel”. Yves Saint Laurent (1993).

In the exhibition, a whole room is dedicated to garments inspired by a faraway world. “I practice my imaginary on places that I do not know. I hate traveling. For example, if I read a book about India or Egypt, with pictures, my imaginary drives me. It is where I have the best time traveling.” Yves Saint Laurent (1986).

Bullfighter outfit (1979) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

Evening outfit (1976) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

Evening Bambara gown (1967) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

The most imposing room gathers evening gowns as an attempt to throw a last ball.

Evening outfit, coat and dress (2001) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

The exhibition ends with some of the most spectacular tuxedos created by YSL.

Pant-tuxedo (1966) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

This exhibition is definitely worth a few hours. Everyone can be touched by the originality and singular details, the high-quality craftsmanship, the story-telling of fifty years in women life.

YSL in his studio at 5 Avenue Marceau (1986) – Pictures from http://www.yslretrospective.com/

Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective until August 29th 2010 in the Petit Palais in Paris, France. More information on http://www.yslretrospective.com/