Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yves Saint Laurent: Love Me Forever

 “Without an elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.”
~ Yves Saint Laurent 

During our winter break in December, I claimed one of my Christmas presents, a trip/event of my choice, and chose to spend a day in Seattle and visit an exhibit that intrigued me ever since I first heard about it - Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style at SAM. I did not know much about this world famous designer, so I spent some time reading about his life, but the impressions about him as a person and artist, really came to life after visiting the museum. I have to say it was one of best museum exhibitions I've seen - very detailed, educational and simply enchanting. I selected 17 photos from well over a hundred that Justin took at the museum, feeling inspired by the exhibit as well. If you'd like to see more photos, I created a video (photo album) on YouTube, which you can find at the end of my post, where I also posted a few of my outfit pictures. I hope you enjoy!

Yves Saint Laurent is credited with revolutionizing the world of fashion on quite a few levels. He was the one who at the age of 21, took over the House of Dior in 1957, but as he admitted later, he "lived in a constant state of anxiety" ever since and was fighting depression for many years later in life. The introduction of an iconic trapeze dress in 1958 (seen above, on the very first photo of the exhibit), both a pea coat and a trench coat as part of his 1962 collection, and pantsuits for women in the late 1960s were only a few his creation that changed our outlook on fashion and style forever. He was also the first designer to open a ready-to-wear boutique in 1966, a move followed later by all other designers. He was a great admirer of art and admitted that he learned colors from Matisse. He loved theater and since childhood created costumes for plays that he showed to his family - later there were works for real shows and movies. But what this exhibition made especially clear to me was that Yves Saint Laurent, who was in so many ways a visionary, leader and trailblazer, is the one we should thank for making style more personal and more expressive. Before him, it was all about "a look", about being "well-dressed". He made it about expressing a personality through outfits. And that is exactly what so many of us do and document in our blogs. 

Find more photos from the exhibit in my video:

I was especially taken with bold colorful outfits, with rich golden ones and with a fantastic collection of jewelry. It was wonderful to see Russian-inspired designs (if I remember right, YSL was also the first couture designer who visited the USSR). I absolutely loved seeing all the sketches and collection boards (something he learned from Dior), as well as learning about the creative process, including working in an atelier. First, a clothing item was created from plain canvas, and only after at least three fittings with a model (who often were St. Laurent's inspiration, sometimes he even skipped sketching, and went straight into playing with fabric on a particular model), the work with the chosen fabrics began, which he often designed himself too - he was known for bold prints. 

 Little did I know that Yves Saint Laurent's first favorite color was black, and even to the question whether it's possible to look elegant on a budget, he suggested a black sweater, a black skirt and... a man who you love on your arm. It was my recipe for the day too - only a black silk jumpsuit instead of a sweater and skirt, and Justin and Anya on both arms. And as it was a cold day, I wore my faux fur coat (got a few compliments in the museum and at a little millinery shop that we visited later) with contrasting hat and scarf. The sculpture of Hammering Man is located right in front of the museum (I didn't know that there are a few of them installed around the world), and the photo of the Seattle skyline was taken from West Seattle later that day.

But from everything I learnt about this gifted designer, I have a strong feeling that with all his fame, tremendous success and even epatage, he remained a very sensitive, vulnerable soul. "Love me forever" were the words on one of his colorful dresses. 
"The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven’t had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there..." 
"The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy..." 
The word "love" floats from one interview to another. It seems it is always there, on the back of his mind, perhaps something he saw a lack of in the world and suffered a lot because of it. 
"Love me forever."  
As if it was the message of his life's work.

Photos by Justin

Jumpsuit - Beth Ditto (clearance)
Boots - Born (old)
Coat - Boden (last winter)
Hat, scarf and necklace - Lane Bryant (old)
Earrings - from Russia, very old
Bracelet and ring - boutique, Justin's gift

Linking to Visible Monday

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  1. yes - i love him forever!!
    he made wonderful yet very wearable designs - he really loved the women - platonic of cause :-)
    the only thing from him i ever wore was his perfume "opium" - it was a present, its very expensive. it suited me very well, surprisingly - it is very stark and special.
    thank you & justin for all the great pictures!!!
    and you look the part in your sweet jumpsuit! fab!

    1. Me too, Beate - sending him lots and lots of love.
      I only heard about Opium, but from the description, it would be something I like - woody, spicy aromas are my most favorite in perfumes.
      Warmest hugs!

  2. Oh Natalia, thank you for this pictures of fabulous clothes. There is russian fairytale:).
    You look amazing in this black jumpsuit.
    Hamming Man, we have one in Frankfurt, 70 km from my home, the maybe biggest one. Very high :)
    Many hugs Tina

    1. Yes, you've got Hammering Man too! He's holding the whole planet in his strong arms.
      YSL has so many connections to Russia and its culture. Here is an article for your pleasure -
      Much love, my dear!

  3. What an outstanding post Natalia! A feast for the eyes, and inspiration for the soul. I do agree, with his motto and Modus Operandi, as many of we bloggers do, as you point out, that his designs agreement for we women to express our personality through what we wear,. HIs creations are timeless , I could see many of them, for instance, on the Golden globes last night.
    I love that you included the sketches and the fabrics, and was fascinated to learn that he also designed his own fabrics! I love his use of color and his bold looks. I also love the Russian influence.

    I adore your black jumpsuit, it is casual and just right, so versatile it looks elegant. Indeed you have an elegant soul.
    Also loved the furry striped coat!!!
    thanks for sharing this treasure!
    xx, Elle

    1. I'm happy that you enjoyed this post, Elle! Justin took so many photos, we really wanted to create a vignette, so to speak. YSL didn't consider fashion a true art, but he indeed was a true Artist and a beautiful soul. And I agree with you - timeless designs!
      Warm hugs!

    2. The museum did a brilliant job, and Pierre Berge Foundation does an amazing job of preservation of his art!

  4. Thank you for sharing this post with us. I love exhibitions. I used to visit them often when I lived in Split. Mostar doesn't have that many museums so I don't get to see them very often.

    I did know some things about YSL, but I never really 'researched' him so it was nice learning a bit more about him from your post. This exhibition seems to be fabulous. Exhibitions that are not only beautiful but also educative are the best. This one seems to be able to combine both.

    I also really love the photos you took. Wonderful designs...some of these dresses I'm seeing for the first time. Your black jumpsuit is very elegant and chic. You look tres chic and jolie...very very pretty!

    So sweet what he said that the best clothes for women are the hands of the man she lovely! You're right, perhaps he did repeat love a lot because he sensed that there is not enough...and there really isn't.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, Ivana, and was able to learn something new. It was a fantastic combination of a very thorough, thoughtful approach and a great deal of love. People who worked on this exhibit deserve a very high praise!

  5. such an evocative and inspiring post!, I would love to see all the beautiful clothes but also all the creative work, the sketches, the art!!
    Glad you enjoyed this exhibition, it looks amazing! That's the kind of thing that shift the spirit! love particularly that "He made it about expressing a personality through outfits"
    And you look gorgeous in your black outfit, elegant and cool!

    1. Thank you, Monica! I do believe we owe this designer a great shift in our perception of what fashion and style is. And just as Beate said, he really loved women - and it shows in his life and work. I think he had a tender soul and just wanted to do an excellent, inspired work, but the pressure was way too much.

  6. What a wonderful exhibition to go to. A stunning collection and you really can see the Russian influences. I didn't know about that. I love that tweed coat and jacket with the fur stole and black skirt. So, so, very elegant.
    I would love to go to Morocco one day to see his garden there.
    You look fabulous in your jumpsuit and coat. I'm not surprised you got complimented!

    1. Russia was an inspiration behind a few collections, I believe - with its folk artistry and rich culture, - and I'm very touched by that fact.. I am happy that you enjoyed the post, Jacqueline! Wishing you to visit Morocco - that would be an awesome adventure!

  7. These are really wonderful impressions of the YSL exhibition, dearest Natalia! I think the dresses you show would fit me as well (in the right size) - and that is something I rarely believe in face of designer fashion... Hihi, and I like the suggestion of "a black sweater, a black skirt and... a man who you love on your arm" ;-) You have been very good inspired by this quote!
    Lots of hugs, Traude
    Herzliche Rostrosengrüße,

    1. I agree with you - I'd wear his creations today, they are timeless! And I wasn't actually familiar with his quote until later. I just felt like wearing this jumpsuit - such serendipity happens to me very often, when I get in tune with the place or event even before I know about it.