Thursday, February 5, 2009

Inspiration at the De Young

Yves Saint Laurent

I had the pleasure of visiting the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco this past weekend. The show included 130 garments and accessories created by the designer- inspired by art, literature and nature. We can thank YSL for the safari jacket, woman's tuxedo and for popularizing the woman's pantsuit....garments that transferred power through fashion. Say what you will about Hilary Clinton's fashion choices, YSL made that option possible.

The overall exhibit was mind boggling but there were also small moments where I had to remind myself to breathe. Like when I spied the Piet Mondrian-inspired color-blocked shift dress from 1965... the original "Le Smoking" jacket from 1966...his big pink bow dress from 1983...and the black and white polka dot cocktail dress from 1992.

He broke the rules of traditional design with clashing color combinations I'd never seen before. I so wanted to take pictures but, sadly, photography was not allowed.

His collections were grouped by similarity, not in chronological order. This helped us to see how Saint-Laurent returned to the same inspirations throughout his forty years of design. I had difficulty differentiating between a design from the 60s and 90s. He remained true to his classic ideals while injecting new and interesting color ways and textures.

The museum store was stocked with the usual books and memorabilia but I opted for the double dvd documentary Yves Saint Laurent - His Life and Times/5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris also available at Amazon.

(photo courtesy of my traveling partner graygoosie)


  1. It was an awesome exhibit! I like seeing the runway videos playing next to the actual garments. I'm glad I got to see it with you Lori!

  2. You made the trip especially fun. Glad we have this memory to share.


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