In April of 1963, a young Yves Saint Laurent discovered his love for Japan, and it was in Kyoto specifically that he encountered courtesans who sported traditional Japanese dress. The delicacy of the lace, the exoticism of the print and the appeal of the uniquely structured cut was enough for Saint Laurent to fall in love with the art of Japanese clothing. This great love was projected into his 1977 Fall/Winter collection which saw a more widespread adoration of Asia in pieces inspired by not only Japanese clothing but other forms of Asian folklore. The collection was an ode to Imperial China and that same year, his iconic Opium fragrance was released, known for its exotic sensuality. His infatuation for Asia then extended further in designs of traditional Indian coats. For years, Yves Saint Laurent drew influence from traditional Asian costumes, their subtle elegance and humble sensuality becoming evident in his work. This exhibition sheds a light on the fact that although Yves Saint Laurent’s designs both catered to and enhanced the elegance of the Parisian woman, the roots of Parisian elegance are international. The exhibition presents fifty of Saint Laurent’s haute couture eastern-inspired creations as well as the works of art that inspired him provided by the Musée Guimet and private collections.
Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient, October 2 2018 to January 27 2019, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris