[February 9 2024]
This exhibition of unique magnitude brings together about forty pieces from the archives of the house. It opens with the famous portrait of Yves Saint Laurent, naked posing before the lens of Jeanloup Sieff, placing the exhibition under the sign of a nudity that refuses the vulgar and embraces a chic and respectful elegance. It particularly focuses on the collections of the late 1960s where dresses in organza, Cigaline, crèpe de chine, lace, tulle, and muslin were abundantly produced, allowing the customer to assert herself as the emancipated and strong woman of the time. To wear a nude dress was to celebrate one’s own femininity.
But to reduce this exhibition to a simple celebration of beautiful garments and precious material would miss the point. The collection presented gives a broader meaning to transparency: that of a window onto the complex art of fashion by Yves Saint Laurent. At the heart of the exhibition, visitors are led to enter the confines of the atelier: sketches still warm, charms, and photographs frame books taken from the immense library as if Yves had just left the room. The exhibition blends the arts by presenting the importance of painting and architecture for the house. Sketches mingle with paintings by Goya, Picabia, and Man Ray in an attempt to decipher the mental universe that inspired the dresses in their fluidity and evanescence. Transparency is also that of highlighting the complexity of fashion and the importance of the seamstresses, making visible all those who make the magic happen. A sheer dress necessarily reveal the impeccable construction that is unique to haute couture, celebrating all the artisans of the total art that is fashion by Yves Saint Laurent.
On view from February 9th to August 25th at Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
Text & Photos by Ewen Guinta