An exhibition chronicling the life and remarkable 44-year career of the famed French designer opened on Tuesday at the Seattle Art Museum.
Yves Saint Laurent pioneered modern women’s wear with such designs as the safari jacket and Le Smoking. His willingness to borrow from menswear prompted many to view his creations as instruments of female empowerment. (Upon being refused entry to a restaurant for wearing pants in the late 1960s, the American socialite Nan Kempner famously dropped the trousers of her Saint Laurent tuxedo and dined wearing only the jacket.) His revolutionary spirit was evident not only in his designs but also in the way he conducted business: In 1966, he opened Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, the first ready-to-wear boutique to bear a couturier’s name, in an effort to democratize fashion.
Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style chronicles his life and remarkable 44-year career, which was officially launched when he was hired by the House of Dior at age 19. The show features 110 haute couture and ready-to-wear outfits, including garments never before publicly displayed. Numerous other elements — the “Paper Doll Couture House” he created as a teenager, collection boards featuring sketches and swatches from his own house’s couture shows, a room of muslins (the first iterations of garments) — offer further insight into his creative vision and process.
Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style
October 11, 2016, through January 8, 2017
At the Seattle Art Museum