Yves Saint Laurent exhibition to open this Saturday in east coast U.S.

May 2, 2017

On May 6, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, U.S.A., will unveil the Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style exhibition, which will run until Aug.27, 2017.

This one-of-a-kind exhibit will showcase selections from the legendary designer’s 44-year career, drawn from the collection of the Fondation Pierre Bergé. New acquisitions that have never been shown publicly before will also be found on display here.

With 100 examples of haute couture and ready-to-wear garments, the exhibition traces the trajectory of Saint Laurent’s style as it developed over the course of his career, beginning in 1953 with the “Paper Doll Couture House” that he created as a teenager. Ensembles early in the exhibition focus on his formative years at the House of Dior, including an example of a short evening dress from his successful Trapeze collection, which marked his debut as a fashion designer when it was shown in Paris in 1958.

On display will also be his groundbreaking designs from the 1960s, which revolutionized the fashion industry. During this decade, Saint Laurent famously liberated women from the constraints of strict gender codes by creating garments, such as the safari jacket, the pantsuit and the tuxedo, which he borrowed from the male wardrobe.

Intricate gowns, the renowned Mondrian piece and the First Pantsuit will be the definite highlights at the show. Particularly exciting are Saint Laurent’s haute couture collection boards that will showcase the sketches of the fashion genius.

VMFA is the only East Coast venue for the exhibition. In addition to haute couture ensembles and ready-to-wear clothing, The Perfection of Style will showcase costume jewelry and other accessories, photographs, drawings, films and video from the Fondation’s vast archive.

Feature image credit: Various examples of paper dolls, assembled by Yves Saint Laurent, circa 1950. Dolls cut from magazines and glued onto cardboard; garments made of paper cutouts, ink, watercolor, and gouache. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris.

SOIR Spring-Summer 1971 haute couture collection board, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008). Mixed media on thick grid paper pinned with fabric swatches. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris.

Evening Ensemble, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008). Spring-Summer 1981 haute couture collection. Blue silk taffeta gown with train and white silk taffeta flounces; trimmed with black braiding. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Photo: Sophie Carre.

Bambara Art-inspired evening ensemble, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), worn by Danielle Luquet de Saint German, Spring-Summer 1967 haute couture collection. Jardin Des Serres d’Auteuil, Bois de Boulogne, Paris. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris Photo: Jean-Paul Cadé.

Hommage to Piet Mondrian, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), cocktail dress. Fall-Winter 1965 haute couture collection. Wool jersey dress with ivory, black, blue, red, and yellow incrustations. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger.

First Pantsuit, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), worn by Ulla. Fall-Winter 1966 haute couture collection. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Photo: Gérard Pataa.

Hommage to Tom Wesselmann, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008), evening gown. Fall-Winter 1966 haute couture collection. Straight dress of purple wool jersey, pink wool jersey applique. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger.

Evening Gown, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008). Fall-Winter 1983 Paris haute couture collection. Strapless gown; draped pink silk satin bodice with large bow on back waist; black silk velvet skirt with short train. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger.

Wedding Dress, Yves Saint Laurent (French, 1936-2008). Fall-Winter 1970 haute couture collection. Multicolored silk velvet coat with applique letters forming thewords “Love me forever” on front and “Or never” on back; various shapes in multicolored silk. © Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris.

By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by / courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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