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Oct 7, 2022
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A vibrant exhibition celebrates the gold in Yves Saint Laurent's fashion

Translated by
Oct 7, 2022

After the success of "Yves Saint Laurent in Museums," a flamboyant new exhibition has been announced on the work of the legendary couturier, with a theme that has never been tackled before: the gold in his creations.

From October 14 to May 14, 2022, "Gold by Yves Saint Laurent" will be held at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris, revealing once again his links with art, but also his radiant side. A beautiful way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the designer's first fashion show and the fifth anniversary of the museum dedicated to him.

The Autumn-Winter 1966 jewelled dress - © David Bailey / Vogue Paris

A few days before the inauguration, an all-female team was busy in the salons of the mansion on 5 Avenue Marceau, Paris, where Yves Saint Laurent set up his fashion house in 1974, and which has housed his museum since 2017. In white coats, drills and other tools in hand, each of these specialists, from the director in charge of managing the collection to the scenographer or the pedestal expert, was busy in front of the works, each time putting on their gloves to carefully move the designer’s glittering dresses.
In the first room, plunged into darkness, jewelled buttons of a 1962 coat glimmered, and gold glittered across dresses entirely embroidered with sequins, superb gold copper body jewellery created for the designer by sculptor Claude Lalanne and the large wall sculptures made in clay and gold by the Belgian artist Johan Creten.
Everything seemed to vibrate in the exhibition, which showed fashion in a new light. Nothing to do with the usual frozen presentations on mannequins. Clothes and accessories were presented as though interacting with the works of various artists.

"It's not just about choosing pieces, but thinking about how to present them. I want to highlight the archives, while making them resonate with the creation of today," explained the curator of the exhibition, Elsa Janssen, who has just taken over the direction of the museum.

The exhibition was built around five themes, from the baroque world of Yves Saint Laurent, empowering women, to the festive years of the Seventies with lustrous dresses to go dancing, through the most dazzling pieces, such as the jewelled dress from the fall-winter 1966 collection entirely covered with gold sequins and a stone-encrusted belt and necklace.
"It makes you think of a sarcophagus of the pharaohs or a reliquary. Every time you study a piece by Yves Saint Laurent, you understand the imagination of the designer, who constantly quotes art history. In fact, everything overlaps, it is because he was impregnated with art, visiting churches and Versailles, or by collecting for example bronze from the 15th and 16th century, that he was inspired by gold for his creations," underlined Janssen.

Gold buttons became jewellery in Yves Saint Laurent's creations - © Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris © Matthieu Lavanchy

For the exhibition, the young woman selected some 40 pieces from 1962 to 2002, from more than 10,000, mostly haute couture creations, inventoried in the museum's collection. Among other loaned creations, the exhibition also featured a golden jumpsuit made by the designer in 1972, lent by Sylvie Vartan. She had also chosen to invite, alongside Creten, other talents and contemporary artists to enhance the creations of the designer "to celebrate his modernity and genius, while inscribing Yves Saint Laurent in time.”
Art publisher Anna Klossowski, daughter of Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent's muse and jewellery designer from 1972 to 2002, is participating in the adventure through a radiant installation featuring 300 pieces of jewellery. Sound designer Pierre-Arnaud Alunni created the soundtrack, based on period archives, for the "Time to shine" section dedicated to the Palace years, while set-designer Valérie Weill composed real paintings from art objects and accessories presented in showcases like cabinets of curiosities.
The tour includes a passage through Yves Saint Laurent's studio, left in its original state, with the library, drawings and photos hanging on the wall and his desk dotted with pots still full of pencils. In one corner, rolls of shimmering gold fabric looked like they had just been chosen for the next collection, while on the work table, a box left open was filled with gold buttons of all types and shapes, smooth, domed, striated, sculpted, rhinestone buttons. As if the designer had just left the premises.


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