Denver Art Museum (DAM) Presents Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective

. April 22, 2011 . 0 Comments

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) and Foundation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent presents Yves Saint Laurent, a sweeping retrospective the designer’s 40 years of creativity. On view March 25 (2012) through July 7, 2012.

The DAM is the only United States venue for the exhibition, which features a stunning selection of 200 haute couture garments along with numerous photographs, drawings and films that illustrate the development of Saint Laurent’s style and the historical foundations of his work. Organized thematically, the presentation melds design and art to explore the full arc of Saint Laurant’s career, from his first days at Dior in 1958 through the splendor of his evening dresses from 2002. Curated by Florence Müller and overseen by Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent premiered in Paris last year at the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, and is on view in the Anschutz Gallery in DAM’s Hamilton Building from March 25 through July 7, 2012.

“We’re thrilled to bring the stunning style and design of Saint Laurent to the United States,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “His designs revolutionized the fashion world just as the masters he drew inspiration from revolutionized the art world. This exhibition showcases the exquisite designs of an artist.”

During his 40 years of designing, Saint Laurent revolutionized the female wardrobe by borrowing the tuxedo, the trouser suit, shorts and the safari jacket from men’s clothing, transferring these symbols of power from one gender to the other. He empowered women with this new form of clothing, turning traditional menswear into haute couture. He reflected women’s changing role in society ahead of any other designer, setting the hit styles of the day.

“This exhibition demonstrates the impact of Saint Laurent’s work on the history of fashion and the present-day relevance of his style,” said exhibition curator Florence Müller. “His creations achieved an ingenious symbiotic relationship between setting style and recognizing popular trends that made them not only wardrobe necessities, but also reflected women’s changing role in society.”

Drawing inspiration from the street (scandal collection, 1971), his imaginary travels (Russia, China, India, Spain, Japan, Africa and Morocco) and his dialogue with art (Mondrian, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh), Saint Laurent was forever turning fashion into celebration. He said, “My primary concern has always been respect for my craft, which is not exactly an art, but which depends on an artist for its existence.”

The development of the Saint Laurent style and the fundamentals of his oeuvre are presented in a visually rich and dramatic way that walks visitors through his life and designs.

Birth of a Revolutionary Couturier
The exhibition starts with a display of Saint Laurent’s designs for Dior, including the 1958 “Trapeze” collection. With this collection, Saint Laurent anticipated the freedom movement of the 1960s.

A Gender Revolution
In these galleries, see how Saint Laurent created a gender revolution by allowing women to express themselves freely melding the flair of a man’s suit with the seductiveness of a woman’s clothing.

Yves Saint Laurent and Women
Another area displays the clothing of the historic women who wore and supported Saint Laurent, including Catherine Deneuve; Grace Princess of Monaco; Nan Kempner; Diana Vreeland; Betty Catroux; Loulou de la Falaise and Paloma Picasso.

Creating a Furor
Celebrating the revolutionary style Saint Laurent gave couture, a section is dedicated to his 1971 scandal collection, which conjured a blend of elegant bourgeois and shameless hussy that the press denounced and customers adored.

The Enchantment of the Exotic
In this section, the imaginary world of Saint Laurent is explored — especially a focus on whimsical travels to create his collections with exotic materials, furs and feathers. Saint Laurent was nourished by styles from various part of the world that are reunited in his designs without any boundaries.

Dialogue with Artists and Writers
The art world takes center stage in a section of the exhibition that draws direct lines between the designer and the artists he admired. In 1965, Saint Laurent launched a collection inspired by Piet Mondrian, the early 20th century painter known for his distinctive style of lines and bold color combinations on flat surfaces. Mondrian dubbed his style Neo-Plasticism, and his work clearly inspired Saint Laurent in the first of many of the designer’s intersections with the art world. Magazines around the globe hailed these creations that broke down the barriers between artistic genres.

The Last Ball
The magic of night and fashion is the focus of The Last Ball section, a succession of exquisite evening dresses from the glory days of haute couture.

Le Smoking
In the following section, visitors are given a close look at 40 years of Yves Saint Laurent creations through a wall of more than 30 tuxedos. The first ever “Smoking” (the French term for tuxedo) from 1966 faces a variety of other tuxedos, each representative of a fundamental work by Saint Laurent.

The Colors of Yves Saint Laurent
Finally, guests will move through the world of colors of Saint Laurent with vibrant examples from his collections and hundreds of fabric samples.

Image: Yves Saint Laurent, Short cocktail dress, Tribute to Piet Mondrian, Fall Winter 1965. Ecru wool jersey, encrusted with black, red, yellow and blue. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris / Photo A. Guirkinger.

The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday–
Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8
seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and
students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit
www.denverartmuseum.org or call 720-865-5000.

Category: Museum News

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