Love: Yves Saint Laurent

The "Love: Yves Saint Laurent" exhibit was made more poignant by the fact that the great designer died shortly after it opened. This retrospective of his work was the first to span 40 years of his career. He was also the first designer to have his work shown in museums during his lifetime. His is career that should be remembered and honored.

Born in 1936 in Algeria and moved to Paris when he was 17. Hired by Christian Dior as a designer in 1955, he quickly moved up the ranks to be finally put in charge of the couture house in 1957 after Dior's death. From the release of his first spring collection, the "Trapeze" line, his career skyrocketed.

Feeling confined by the Dior label, Saint Laurent left to found his own couture house with his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé. In the winter of 1962 he presented his first collection and his business grew in leaps in bounds. "YSL" remained a top label until the very end when in 2002, Saint Laurent decided to close his couture house.

When Yves Saint Laurent died June 1, 2008 in Paris from the effects of brain cancer the world lost one of its foremost fashion designers. There are not many designers at his level. Haute couture was his kingdom and he ruled it over his career in the 20th century. Creating timeless classic after timeless classic for the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Princess Grace of Monaco, Princess Diane von Fürstenberg, Duchess of Windsor, Jane Fonda, and Lauren Bacall

As you walk through his designs you see how unique his style was and the high quality workmanship that went into his clothes. Saint Laurent used the art world, pop culture and society around him as inspirations for his creations. He completely redesigned the female silhouette. He played with making a feminine version of traditionally male styles. Dressing women in what were thought of as symbols of male power set the fashion world on its ear. Saint Laurent had women wearing pants day and night, which was unheard of previously.

You also see how revolutionary his work was. The way he cut his clothes or draped them was different than anything we had ever seen previously. First and foremost, Saint Laurent was interested in highlighting the female figure. He made a woman sexy without showing much skin. Alongside this he also continuously played with colours, materials and shapes.

The exhibit is made up of mannequins dressed in the clothes, video installations, sketches, and a black and white documentary. The only downside to the exhibit is that it is quite dark in certain areas so you have to get really close up to see some of the clothes, but other than that the beautiful clothes are well worth a looksee.

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