There are indeed as many prestigious adjectives to describe the man Yves Saint Laurent was. However, the words remain quite weak to do him justice. Numerous of books, documentaries or movies have tried, sometimes successfully, but always with a touch of fiction. Paying tribute to an artist and his love for the style, is indeed a complex exercise. But which better way then, if not the contemplation of his work? This is what the Saint Laurent Museum offers: to admire the accomplishment of the designer, by taking us along in his journey. From his early career in the Maison Dior, where he was named artistic director at only 21 years old, through his meeting with Pierre Bergé, the creation of his own Maison, passing by his democratization of women’s pants, his tributes to the great masters of painting, to finish by his tearful goodbyes on the 7th of January in 2002.
The Yves Saint Laurent Paris Museum opens the door to a whole different world. The one of Yves Saint Laurent. Rendez-vous at the 5 Avenue Marceau, in the sixteenth district, the very same place where the Maison was located, and in which the aura of the creator has remained everywhere: through his portraits of course, but also through the Haute Couture dresses, his amazing sketches, or the inspirational pictures and fabrics pinned to the wall of his studio. This same studio, where the messy desk, the glasses nonchalantly placed on the table, and the sensation of the cigarette still smoking in the ashtray, give the feeling of a full immersion into the universe of Saint Laurent. As a proof, the almost religious silence that is made as soon as you enter the room.
Everything in the museum is made to make visitors feel strong and mixed emotions. Being so close to the creator, through real relics of his daily life can only amaze any good fashion lover. More than the sense of wonder, it is a sense of nostalgia that comes over you when you contemplate the famous Mondrian dress, most copied dress in the world, or the « smocking trousers suit » designed in 1966, when only a few women had the audacity to wear pants at work. The nostalgia to think that an era is now over, wondering if someday, a creator will be as innovative and precursory as Yves Saint Laurent. Throughout his life, Yves Saint Laurent has worked for the women. What he loved above all? Make them beautiful, make them unique. His boundless creativity led him to develop outfits that not only revolutionized ladies’ dress, but also established
some of the basics of modern women’s wardrobe. By borrowing the clothes of men to slide them on the shoulders of women, Saint Laurent spread his message well beyond the circles of regulars of Haute Couture.
« Chanel has often been said to have liberated women, it’s true, years later, Saint Laurent gave them the power, and that’s why his work goes beyond the work of a fashion designer », said Pierre Bergé, the companion of the creator and co-founder of the Maison, whom the museum also pays a great tribute to. A fifteen minutes very moving film shows rare pictures of the creator, commented by the person who knew him better. Anecdotes, but also restored facts and proofs of their unconditional love, little things that make their romance a legendary love story, are delivered to the visitors through this movie. Let’s recall that it is the wish of Pierre Bergé to create this museum, to report the work of the couturier. More than a way to pay tribute to him, it is also a way to present the true personality of Saint Laurent to the visitors. This is more moving to know that Pierre Bergé unfortunately missed by only a few weeks the opportunity to discover the museum and to see how the story of Saint Laurent is making generations of people dreaming. « I wish that in 100 years, one studies my dresses, my drawings. » said Yves Saint Laurent once. It is undoubtedly the case.
Megane GORI – Sidonie LAEBENS – Helene RIGOUT