Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yves - mon amour

Yippee! Today we visit the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Petite Palais along the Champs Elysees. Yves died June 1, 2008, but lives on as one of the world’s greatest designers.

The exhibit showed just a fraction of Yves' 5,000 original garments and 15,000 accessories in storage at his Fondation at 5, avenue Marceau in the 6° arrondissement. This is where he had his haute couture house.

Pierre Berge, Yves' business partner, and Carla Bruni, former model and now first lady of France, put together the exhibit.

No touching. No photographs. No moving closer than the guards and electric eyes protecting the garments.

Here you see all of Yves’ firsts: the Trapeze, the Mondrian, the jacket dress, the pantsuit, the tuxedo, the see-through blouse. Yves was among the first to launch a ready-to-wear line with his Rive Gauche (Left Bank) store. Other designers stayed, and for the most part still do, on the more fashionable right bank.

Yves changed fashion, everyone copied him and now these ideas and items are fixtures in most closets. Yes, even the see-through with a bra or cami underneath as you might see today at Forever 21.

His notable firsts:

- The trapeze dress. Part of his first collection for Dior in 1958, it broke away from the wasp-waisted New Look Dior had made famous in the 1950s.

- In 1966, the first ready-to-wear house set up by a couture designer.

- Le Smoking, a 1968 tuxedo jumpsuit styled after men's overalls. He famously sued Ralph Lauren over Lauren's copy of this garment and won. Again, a first. No one wins such a case since you can't patent clothing. Yves, however, won in French court, not in the U.S.

- With the Mondrian dress in 1966 he brought art into fashion. He later reprised VanGogh's Irises in a sequined and beaded jacket.- Safari jackets, tight pants (precursor to leggings) and thigh-high boots in the 1960s

- Pant suits, peasant blouses, bolero jackets and smocks in the 1970s.

- See through chiffon blouses. His models wore them bare-breasted. We wear them over camisoles.

All of this shocking, eye-opening and controversial when Yves first created them. All of this we take for granted today as if it always existed.I bought the book from the exhibit. I'll be happy to share it with you :)

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