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This spring, six famous Parisian museums honour the 60thanniversary of the first Yves Saint Laurent runway show. Some of the special showcases at the Louvre and at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris will remain open throughout the supper until mid-September 2022. Check out what’s inside.

The YVES SAINT LAURENT AUX MUSÉES exhibition series celebrates the 60thanniversary of the first Yves Saint Laurent runway show. Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936, Oran, Algeria – June 1, 2008, Paris, France) was one of the most emblematic French fashion designers. The Yves Saint Laurent fashion house was launched on December 4, 1961 and on January 29, 1962, the 26-year-old designer presented his first collection under his own name. 

Six Parisian museums paid tribute to his legacy throughout the spring. The Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris each showed a different facet of Yves Saint Laurent’s inspirations and connections to art. The special showcases at the Louvre and at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris will be on view until mid-September 2022.

Yves Saint Laurent at the Louvre

29.01.2022 – 19.09.2022

The Louvre exhibition is set in the Galerie d’Apollon, an iconic room of the Louvre, home to some of its most precious historical collections. Located at the Denon Wing on the 1st floor and originally designed as a reception hall for Louis XIV the place is a lavish setting for the exceptional artworks on display. 

Yves Saint Laurent at the Louvre
Yves Saint Laurent at the Louvre, Galerie d’Apollon

The outstandingly embroidered evening jackets from the ‘80s or the Hommage à ma Maison (Tribute to my house) jacket from 1990 (cut like a piece of jewellery, is entirely covered in rock crystals) clearly reflect Yves Saint Laurent’s skills of interpreting his inspirations from many art forms into a new ‘objets d’art’. 

Yves Saint Laurent at the Louvre
Yves Saint Laurent at the Louvre, Organza embroidered jacket, Fall/winter 1981

‘Le coeur d’Yves Saint Laurent’ is also on view – the heart necklace (transformable to a brooch) was first created in 1962 and then included in numerous runway shows up until the final haute couture show in 2002. The jewel features red crystal cabochons, faux pearls, and smoky gray rhinestones – its value is not in the gemstones. The Heart was more like a trinket or a talisman for the legendary designer, he carefully selected the model who would close the show and she was the one to wear it on that occasion (since then, some variations exist but that was the purpose of the original piece). 

Get your ticket here.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

29.01.2022 – 18.09.2022

I visited the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris in 2018 which is in a three-storey Napoleon III-style mansion at 5 Avenue Marceau, the former couture house of Yves Saint Laurent (from 1974). It was a real treat for me and so would be for any haute couture aficionado, but it could be interesting and visually entertaining for everyone. 

The exhibition at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris celebrates the process of making, you can marvel at sketches, drawings, patterns and toiles. The latter is very important in high fashion creation –  coming from the French word for linen cloth, it is a prototype or fitting version of a garment that’s made up in an inexpensive fabric. That way the design and the proportions can be tested and perfected without using the precious materials. In the museum a room is dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent toiles giving a good overview of the complexity of the creations. 

Toiles at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris
Toiles at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

Yves Saint Laurent created dresses using his knowledge of different art forms and artists. He was a very innovative fashion designer who presented his pieces in homage to Piet Mondrian, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Fernand Léger, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. We can find more direct references – like the jacket ‘Hommage à Vincent Van Gogh’ from spring-summer 1988 and the Piet Mondrian dresses from 1965, but also pieces which served more like an aesthetic conversation – the evening gowns from 1992 reflecting the colours of Raoul Dufy’s ‘La Fée électricité’ in the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris or blouses inspired by Pierre Bonnard’s paintings. 

There are very specific creations on view such as a cape and the dress from 1988 with motifs of George Braque (1882-1963), French painter and prominent figure in the development of cubism. 

‘Haute couture is material, but it is also a whisper which is passed on and repeated. We whisper our secrets: the fine-tuning and the knowledge of the cut. That is where haute couture can become an art form.’ – Yves Saint Laurent 

Book your visit here.

Planning your trip to Paris in summer 2022? Read my tips about the latest exhibitions here.

Yves Saint Laurent Paris
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris

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