Yves Saint Laurent aux Musées
Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée National Picasso-Paris, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris
January 29 – September 18, 2022
YVES SAINT LAURENT AUX MUSÉES celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first Yves Saint Laurent runway show. On January 29, 1962, the 26-year-old designer presented his inaugural collection under his own name. From that day on, Saint Laurent seized upon a vision and a style that became his staple throughout his career and until 2002, forty years in which he broke down barriers and introduced bold new forms.
The garments designed by Yves Saint Laurent speak to an entire culture; they embody a far-reaching artistic universe. His endless fascination with the visual arts, both contemporary and historical, deeply informed and energized his work. This new expansive exhibition seeks to retrace the myriad of cultures and artistic movements Saint Laurent drew inspiration from.
Conceived and made possible by the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, YVES SAINT LAURENT AUX MUSÉES will foster a dialogue between a selection of garments, including some of the couturier’s most iconic designs, and the permanent collections of six prominent Parisian museums. The exhibition celebrates both Saint Laurent’s mastery and art in general.
The tentacular scale of the project makes it possible to link the world of Yves Saint Laurent with other artistic realms. At the Centre Pompidou – France’s National Museum of Modern Art, we will see Yves Saint Laurent as an artist rooted in his time and deeply in tune with the most noteworthy artistic movements of the 20th century.
Picasso, the unequivocal leading figure of the century, holds a special place in the couturier’s work, as it is also apparent in the vis à vis on view at the Musée National Picasso-Paris. Drawing uncanny correlations in between artistic disciplines and schools of thought, Yves Saint Laurent savvily alternated rhythms and colours, lights and textures, as seen in the associations featured at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
At the Musée du Louvre, visitors will discover the couturier’s fascination with light and his passion for gold, the colour of the sun, present in sumptuous decadence in the decorative arts of the Galerie d’Apollon. This aesthetic investigation cannot be fully understood without acknowledging the role played by Marcel Proust in the great couturier’s imagination.
Saint Laurent’s Proustian passion, as well as the way in which he challenged gender codes by mixing women’s and men’s apparel, will be explored at the Musée d’Orsay. Important archive materials from the fashion house, carefully preserved over the years by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, will be presented at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, as an extension of the masterpieces exhibited in the permanent galleries of the project’s partner museums in Paris. Largely unknown, these archive materials will help understand how couture garments come to be.
They will illustrate the daily work developed within the couture house, provide insight into Saint Laurent’s creative process and pay tribute to his numerous invaluable collaborators. This archive and the exhibitions at the partner museums will enable us to retrace the unique creative journey of Yves Saint Laurent.
Conceived as a sort of archipelago, the exhibition will offer new forms of dialogue and encourage visitors to create their own itineraries from one museum to another, leading them into less familiar or new aesthetic terrain. YVES SAINT LAURENT AUX MUSÉES seeks to go beyond the traditional framework of an exhibition and how it is experienced, by opening the exhibition to elements that would otherwise go unnoticed, by playing on multiple affinities, unsuspected connections, the exhibition offers, as a result, a new perspective on the work of Yves Saint Laurent.