A brief work trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago allowed me to experience the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Avenue Marceau, the former premises of YSL couture. Part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Yves Saint Laurent, the latest exhibition, ‘Yves Saint Laurent au 5, avenue Marceau’ focuses on the archives and know-how of the designer and his coterie of technical specialists and as such is just a joy for process nerds.
From the first few rooms of sketches, through to rooms showcasing couture patterns, toiles, hat blocks, Polaroids and more sketches, you arrive at my favourite exhibit, a time capsule of Saint Laurent’s Studio, complete with reference books, fabrics, desk ephemera and other design essentials. A video shows him in situ, highlighting the exacting scene that you’re standing in front of.
Short videos towards the end of the exhibition show filmed conversations with his inner circle of designers and stylists. From these you get a real sense of the creativity and specificity of Saint Laurent’s vision and subsequently, a clue to his enduring success.
Top: Yves Saint Laurent by Andy Warhol
Below: The original gouache intertwined YSL logo designed by French-Ukrainian designer Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in 1961
Walls of Saint Laurent’s design sketches, famed for their energetic verve
Canvas patterns on display alongside their corresponding envelopes (also containing sketches and fabric swatches), numbered and annotated by the heads of the ateliers
A room of hat blocks
Toiles of Saint Laurent’s 1988 Cubist collection, a tribute to to Georges Braque
My favourite part – the Studio preserved in its original spot, complete with books, desk ephemera and dog bowl on the floor (you’re not allowed to cross that white line)
Polaroids used to document ‘looks’ for the shows
Yves Saint Laurent au 5, avenue Marceau is at Musée Yves Saint Laurent until 18th September. See more and book tickets here.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris by Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
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