Friday, April 27, 2012

Yves Saint Laurent

When I found out that the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit was going to be held in Denver I was in complete shock, fashion exhibits are always in New York or Paris not Denver. The exhibit was simply amazing! It was such a thrill to finally be in the presence of couture pieces. But what really impacted me was how the exhibit allowed the viewer to see inside the creative process of Yves Saint Laurent.

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was a display of what Laurent's desk looked like. Below is a picture of his actual desk. The thing that impressed me the most was the simplicity of it all. Just a few carefully chosen pictures the rest was in his head inspired by the feelings of the time and women around him. Such as his closest friend Catherine Deneuve, an actress that he meet on a set of a movie and would be a source of inspiration through out his career

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Yves Saint Laurent always had live models in his study as he felt that their was nothing that could replace the real shapes of the human body. "Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is a women wearing it." ~ Yves Saint Laurent.

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Another remarkable thing about Yves Saint Laurent's creative process was watching him create sketches of dresses. In a video about his life Laurent discussed how when he starts a drawing he does not have a specific dress in mind, but just follows the feel of the drawing.

Yves Saint Laurent was one of the first to find inspiration from men's clothing in women's fashion. Their were  beautiful pieces with beautiful salior details. But his most famous addition was the use of pant suits in women's fashion which was very conservertial at the time.
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In the last room of the exhibit there were two walls filled floor to ceiling with Yves Saint Laurent's suit designs. It was amazing to see the incredible variety of different suit designs that one man had helped to create.

Another place Yves Saint Laurent gathered inspiration from was from far away countries such as Russia, Japan, India, Africa, and Morocco. Though Morocco was the only country he actually visited and eventually become his home. Laurent would simple draw inspiration from imaging these faraway places. In his show inspired by Africa Yves Saint Laurent was the first to use inter racial models in his shows.

I was fascinated by Laurent's fascination with the Moroccan culture as I have visited southern Spain which share similar cultural features. The picture below is from the Muslim place the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The following picture are amazing capes inspired by Morocco, the detailed beading on the capes is incrediable.

The following picture is of some of the pieces inspired by Japan. The piece that I found most interesting was the traditional Japeness jacket made from leather. Yves Saint Laurent also used leather in some of his earlier design gaining a reaction from the public as the rebellious youth wore leather, feeling that this material should not be seen in their high class world. I found it interesting that he incorporated this material again into a piece that is more traditionally made in silk.

Another portion of the exhibit displayed photos from Yves Saint Laurent's nude advertising campaign for one of his colognes. The pictures were incredibly striking showing a man who was completely vaurable yet confident. This campaign was a large and risky move for a man who was self described as shy. Below is a picture from the campaign.

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One of the final portions of the exhibit were pieces inspired by artists of the time, such as Vincent van Gogh, Georges Draque, and Piet Mondrian. Below is the dress inspired by Piet Mondrian next to a Mondrian Painting.

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I do not have pictures of the sequin jackets inspired by the following Vincent Van Gogh Paintings but they were simply exquisite. The sequins helped create Van Gogh's use of thick paint that make his paintings so amazing to see in person.

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The following dress and painting were inspired and created by Georges Braque.

Yves Saint Laurent was an incredible visionary who pushed social limits through the medium of fashion. I am so glad I had the chance to see his works in person and hope you enjoyed this post!

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