PARIS – To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Yves Saint Laurent house, the creations of the late couturier will be exhibited in six major Parisian museums alongside some of the works of art that inspired them.
Imagine her 1965 Mondrian dress, juxtaposed with the Mondrian painting to which she refers, at the Center Pompidou. Or a vintage polka dot dress from 1986, exhibited next to fragments of Claude Monet’s version of âDÃ©jeuner surherbeâ at the MusÃ©e d’Orsay.
Similar associations will be presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Louvre Museum, the Picasso Museum and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in the French capital as part of the exhibition entitled “Yves Saint Laurent Aux MusÃ©es” (“Yves Saint Laurent at the Museums â) which will take place from January 29 to May 15.
Madison Cox, president of the Pierre BergÃ©-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, said he didn’t want a blockbuster retrospective, like the 1983 exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum, or the exhibition at the Petit Palais. in 2010.
âIt’s already done,â he told WWD. âFor me, Yves Saint Laurent has always been forward thinking and innovative, talking about how to see fashion in different ways, how to project fashion in different ways, and also how to look back at his work and how to make it relevant, in a sense. . And I felt that there was something else to say about Saint Laurent and its relationship to art.
The designer presented his first collection under his own name in January 1962 at the age of 26, after making a sensational entry into the world of Parisian couture by succeeding Christian Dior at the head of his eponymous house after his death. from the founder in 1957.
While some of Saint Laurent’s couture designs over the years directly reflected the works of Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, artwork and literature have indirectly inspired almost everything he has produced. The MusÃ©e d’Orsay will highlight the link between designer and author Marcel Proust, as well as his exploration of gender codes.
Meanwhile, the Louvre will focus on Saint Laurent’s fascination with light, gold, and the decorative arts through a dedicated section in the ornate Apollo Gallery, which houses some of the museum’s most valuable historical collections, including the French crown jewels.
âThe idea was to highlight the richness of the permanent collections of these different Parisian museums. So we’re not taking an empty temporary exhibition space to fill it, but actually placing Saint Laurent’s creations in the permanent art galleries, âCox said.
He had initially planned to involve several museums in New York City as well, but the pandemic threw that project down. The alignment of six major Parisian institutions has not been an easy task, especially as several museum directors have swapped seats in recent months. But there was a lot of goodwill.
âEveryone had something to say about Yves Saint Laurent,â Cox said. “Many of them had their own stories to tell, whether it was a first perfume they were given at 16, a scarf their parents wore, or an item of clothing that they maybe cherished when they were 20 or 30. He somehow touched their entire life in one form or another.
The designer’s life and business partner, Pierre BergÃ©, also donated many objects from his vast collection of art and antiques to French museums after Saint Laurent’s death in 2008. As president of the He Paris Opera and co-owner of the French newspaper Le Monde, BergÃ© has played a major role in French culture.
He also ensured the preservation of the heritage of Saint Laurent, with the creation of two permanent museums in Paris and Marrakech. As part of the anniversary exhibition, the French museum, housed in the designer’s former sewing salons, will present archival objects illustrating behind the scenes of the making of the collections.
âWe will not present any clothing. I think it’s also interesting for the audience to see what the process is from a simple sketch with an HB pencil to almost the finished product, which is a canvas or a muslin mannequin, which has been produced for each item â , Cox said.
âWe really felt that it was a way to also pay tribute to all those, as we say in French, little hands: seamstresses, hats, shoemakers, all these people who have participated in what makes a fashion house, âhe concluded.
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