yves saint laurent gets museums in paris and marrakech
Nothing says more about Parisian fashion and haute couture than Yves Saint Laurent. Deemed the greatest fashion designer of all time, Saint Laurent not only changed the face of fashion from the 1960s to the late 1990s, he also influenced dozens of designers of later generations.
So as AGEIST contributor Richard Nahem writes, it’s more than fitting that not only has Paris opened a museum to honor him, but also Marrakech, long considered Saint Laurent’s second home.
Located in the upscale 16th arrondissement, the Paris branch of the museum is a former mansion transformed into the Pierre Bergé Foundation in 2001 by Pierre Bergé and Saint Laurent. Originally set up as a gallery for a myriad of temporary exhibitions, sometimes including Saint Laurent’s work, Bergé decided to turn the space into an exclusive YSL museum. Bergé enlisted his old friend, interior designer Jacques Grange who decorated many of the couple’s residences in the past, to overhaul the space. Bergé said to Grange, “Only you can do this museum. You are the decorator of Yves Saint Laurent. There is no question, and that’s it.”
The museum opened in the end of September with much fanfare, but unfortunately Bergé didn’t live to see the completed museum; he passed away on September 8 at the age of 86.
On the first floor is a revolving collection of Saint Laurent’s most well-received couture collections, starting with his debut in 1962. It highlights some of his iconic pieces including a dress from the Mondrian collection and garments from the Picasso collection. A separate room on the second floor screens a film, a love letter from Pierre Bergé to the genius and love of Saint Laurent.
The highlight of the museum is Saint Laurent’s atelier on the top floor: a modest, low-key design with bookshelves brimming with boxes of ribbon, reference books, plastic crates filled with trims and accessories, and a desk made of sawhorses with a black tabletop. The desk has smatterings of Saint Laurent’s personal effects: drawings, hand-scribbled notes, drawing pencils, sketches, and bric-a-brac. Against the wall are bolts of fabric along with colored ribbons and clasps. One feels like a voyeur walking through the space, with the ghost of Saint Laurent hovering.