Yves Saint Laurent at 5 French Museums

PARIS – 60 years since the launch of the first collection bearing his name, Yves Saint Laurent, the designer synonymous with French fashion and the died in 2008, once again swept Paris by the storm. Or rather his creations.

From Saturday to May 15, 50 works from the producer’s huge body of work will be on display among the permanent collections at five of France’s most prestigious museums: Louvre, Musée d’ Orsay, Center Pompidou, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and Picasso Museum Paris. And Yves Saint Laurent Museumin the designer’s former headquarters on Avenue Marceau, is a gallery of sketches, Polaroid photographs and rare tile samples illustrating the processes and craftsmanship that make up haute couture.

Organizers say the contemporary performance of “Yves Saint Laurent aux Musées,” 18 pandemic months in the making, will be the first time a couturer has been honored at multiple classic establishments alongside a time. But it will be one of Mr. First Saint Laurent’s, which included being the first designer to embrace ready-to-wear, the first to take fashion inspiration from street style, and being one of the first to bring models of color to the runway. . And it could put an end to the long-standing debate about whether couture belongs to high art.

Mouna Mekouar, the show’s co-curator and a contemporary art expert (this will be her first fashion exhibition), says that although fashion and traditional art exist side by side, That separation no longer applies.

“I think, in 2022, we are living in a time where we no longer need to question whether fashion is art, or art is art. ” she said in an interview at Café Beaubourg, Center Pompidou.

“Today, we live in a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary universe made up of interconnections, so the old labels don’t really make sense anymore,” she added. “I don’t think one can understand any fashion designer, whoever they are, without considering the contemporary creations around them. At the same time, I don’t think we can understand a contemporary artist without looking at what’s happening in fashion. ”

No organization hesitated immediately when she suggested a joint performance, she said.

Saint Laurent’s genius, says Mekouar, was that he blurred the lines between fashion and art from the start.

“He was looking at different civilizations and art forms and responding to the art of his time,” she said. “He is announcing the arrival of the 21st century. His vision is pluralistic: there is no hierarchy, only many focal points of interest.

“He completely assimilated an artist’s work to reinvent it,” she continued. “Even if the reference is direct, there is always the variation that is his own. And his work is still meaningful around the world today because he did it before anyone else.”

She says so many references to Saint Laurent that the exhibit could have gone “in a thousand different directions”. To keep it focused, Ms. Mekouar; Stephan Janson, her co-manager; and Madison Cox, president of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, worked closely with the directors and curators of the museum to match the selections with the archives at each facility.

At Center Pompidou, for example, 500 Polaroids YSL friends, muses and models including Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Stella Tennant and Naomi Campbell put together a table that showcases a Warholian atmosphere. A dress from the fall-winter 1979 Picasso collection, with undercurrents reflecting the work of French artist Sonia Delaunay, is displayed in the Delaunay room. A green coat from Scandale Collection 1971 stand beside “Made in Japan,” Pop music by Martial Raysse, a contemporary of the couturier.

Then there were Mondrian’s famous fall-winter 1965 gowns, highlighting Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s work to a French audience – a decade before Pompidou acquired “Composition in Red, Blue and White” II”. During the show, the YSL Mondrian dress and the painting stood side by side for the first time.

“This project resonates particularly with Pompidou,” said Xavier Rey, the museum’s director, “because Yves Saint Laurent was not only the first to connect haute couture with the art he loved and collected. games, but also because the museum is where he chose to say goodbye to fashion, in 2002” – a reference to the couturier’s last fashion show, a 45-minute flashback. A film about that event will be shown at the museum.

At the Musée d’Art Moderne, the structures have been rearranged and the lighting is dimmed to match the clothes that highlight another side of 20th-century art, with a denim jacket. from the designer’s spring/summer 1970 Rive Gauche ready-to-wear line paired with striped paint panels by Daniel Buren, a one-time street artist. And at the Musée d’Orsay, which specializes in 19th-century works, the point of contact is not art, but literature. Marcel Proust, whose works were a lifelong inspiration for Saint Laurent, is referenced indirectly through one of the designer’s trademarks – Le Smoking, or women’s tuxedo – a nod. prelude to the concept of masculinity-feminin (now known as gender fluidity). ).

Placed in front of d’Orsay’s superb timepiece at the entrance to the Impressionist collection are five suits, including Saint Laurent’s first set, from 1966, as well as two inspired gowns inspired by belleépoque. Both were designed for the 1971 Proust Ball – one worn by Jane Birkin, handcrafted in ivory crêpes with fleece sleeves and guipure lace while the other, modeled by Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, in ivory satin with black trim.

All of them are on display within sight of Édouard Manet’s 1863 painting “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe,” or “The Luncheon on the Grass,” one of Saint Laurent’s recurring obsessions. . Further into the Impressionist collections, a corner dedicated to the graphic arts showcases Saint Laurent’s sketches of clothing designs and photographs of loyal YSL clients, such as Hélène Rochas, wife of designer Marcel Rochas, in a black velvet gown with white satin Cattleya orchids.

Gold plating in the Louvre Galerie d’Apollonhome to the jewels of the French crown, four sumptuously embroidered coats honoring the glory of France and its savoir-faire.

A coat called Homage à Ma Maison, the designer’s tribute to his metal straps and made of organza studded with numerous stone crystals and embroidered with gold thread, is on display near King Louis XIV’s carved stone crystal objects collection. A heart pendant made of rhinestones and poured glass, part of Saint Laurent’s semiotics used to designate a favorite model during a runway show, joined the jewelery display. Copy.

Mr. Cox, the foundation’s president and Mr. Bergé’s widower, noted that he believes Saint Laurent will be delighted with the company his work is maintaining. “Although Mr. Saint Laurent is probably not the most humble person in the world,” he said, “I think he would love to be seen as an artist. He is an artist. “

Geographically and figuratively, the event covers a wide variety of establishments. Even so, Ms. Mekouar and Mr. Cox say it represents only a handful of untapped themes from 7,000 YSL garments, 50,000 accessories and thousands of sketches to collections, apparel and Costumes are kept in archives throughout France. And that doesn’t include troves like over 250 pieces and prototypes donate to the organization in 2019 by YSL muse Betty Catroux.

“I hope that this kind of show can be applied to other venues,” said Mr. Cox, “so we can get out of the way of the fashion show concept as we know it.”

“Our mission is to present art in all its forms,” said Mr. Rey of the Center Pompidou. Through today’s designers, we see that, more than ever, fashion has a rightful place. ”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/style/yves-saint-laurent-exhibition-five-museums-paris.html Yves Saint Laurent at 5 French Museums

Fry Electronics Team

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