Yves Saint Laurent, Green fox fur coat, worn by Willy Van Rooy, Spring-summer 1971 haute couture collection. Photo: Hans Feurer / Elle / Scoop
Yves Saint Laurent 1971 – The Scandal Collection
The Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent presents an exhibition dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent‘s spring-summer 1971 haute couture collection. “Liberation” or “Forties” collection, which was inspired by the fashion of the war years. Short dresses, platform shoes, square shoulders, and exaggerated makeup were the references to occupied Paris that caused a scandal. The collection, which was heavily criticized by the press, gave full sway to the retro trend that quickly ended up conquering the street.
Yves Saint Laurent, Short dress with green embroidered corselet, Spring-summer 1971 haute couture collection. Photo: Sophie Carre
“Saint Laurent‘s eighty designs nonchalantly worn by six models caused a stir on the Rue Spontini. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé had inaugurated their couture house there in 1961. This was also where all the fashion shows were held. Some 180 international customers, buyers, and journalists wavered in the seats that had been reserved for them. Part of the public did not conceal their aversion and expressed their horror before the spectacle of a collection they deemed hideous. They were primarily disturbed by the couturier’s claims that he was inspired by the elegance of the war years and the occupation.” Olivier Saillard, Exhibition Curator.
Yves Saint Laurent, Lips pattern coat, Spring-summer 1971 haute couture collection. Photo: Charles Platiau
“What can be called new in clothing? From peplum to stockings, everything has been done and redone a hundred times. Hippie dress was borrowed from the East; shorts are borrowed from stadiums. And yet these are still new contributions to fashion. None of them come from haute couture. Haute couture no longer emits anything but nostalgia and prohibitions. Just like an old lady. I don’t care if my pleated or draped dresses evoke the 1940s for cultivated fashion people. What’s important is that young girls who have never known this fashion want to wear them.” Yves Saint Laurent.