Yves Saint Laurent was easily one of the most celebrated fashion designers of his era, and many of his finest designs are showcased at this exquisite most inspiring, intimate museum space in the original studio space of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s a must to include on any Parisian itinerary for fashion lovers.
Having not opened so long ago, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent opened its doors in a beautiful three-story Napoleon III-style mansion at 5 Avenue Marceau in Paris that from 1974, was the former couture house of Yves Saint Laurent.
“I told myself repeatedly, ‘One day you will be famous”.
– Yves Saint Laurent
As you enter this truly majestic apartment sized building in Paris, your eyes are drawn to the huge ceilings with glistenings chandeliers and elegant decor with white and lavish gold finishings.
As you enter the first room, you are already presented with a great retrospective of his work, from early sketches, designs, drawings and photographs by Yves Saint Laurent. In the times of Yves Saint Laurent, this ground floor gave space to the Haute Couture salons for the clients and sometimes even fashion shows so it felt truly special to be in the presence of such history.
“Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.”
― Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient
Following the above is a thematic exhibition called, “Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient” that brings together a collection of Asian-inspired evening wear with fashions reflecting Chinese, Indian and Japanese influences.
Alongside this, the creations are shown together with some original ancient garments, jewelry and other works of art, which only enhance one’s appreciation of his genius. It also brings together the inspiration for his legendary perfume ‘Opium’ and his enduring legacy of pushing the boundaries time after time in the fashion industry.
The collections from all over the world are curated beautifully. Each and every single country of inspiration is presented beautifully and you truly escape into the legendary French designer’s travels, longings, and wealth of inspiration from his travels and studies.
“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”
― Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Ballroom
Upstairs, a further collection of divine creations are presented. This takes the form of a ballroom esque design and I was so moved by the elegant, intimate beautifully presented pieces that flows really well in the space given.
Interestingly, Yves Saint Laurent was once quoted as saying, “I have been to every country in my dreams….all I have to do to blend into a place or a landscape is to read a book, or look at a picture, and then use my imagination.” India was a country he had never visited and yet this display was deeply inspired by Indian fashion. Here we see how he paid homage to the Indian Maharaja, and featured embellished turbans for women that are adorned with ‘sarpech’, an ornament of the Mughal emperors normally intended for men.
Throughout his work, it’s deeply evident how passionate Yves Saint Laurent was in his work through his great eye for detail, through to the shapes of the designs, the fabrics, beading, embroidery, finishes and accessories that will all take your breath away.
In this fast fashion world we live in, it’s truly worth taking the time to savour the beauty of Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic designs and talents, and these exhibitions truly take you through the painstaking process of fashion creation, marketing and sales in such intimate detail.
“What is wonderful about my art is that dream and reality can become one. There is just one step between the two.”
― Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Studio
Next to the above collection is Yves Saint Laurent’s original atelier (office) preserved exactly as it was, appearing as if the team just stepped away for a moment which is deeply moving.
To me, this is the most enlightening and the most intimate part of the exhibition. To visit an artist’s studio where they actually worked is beyond special. It’s here you can see shelves of extensive reference books ranging from Proust to Mondrian, to personal quirks such as the small figurines of his dogs Mujik and a photo of his muse, Catherine Deneuve.
They say you can tell everything about the work of a creator from their surroundings and this is deeply evident in this spot where you could truly absorb the creative process of this iconic designer and ultimately how his most sought after and truly timeless designs originated.
The Musée Yves Saint Laurent is a must-see location in Paris for all my fellow fashion-lovers and especially any haute couture lovers. However, it also served as a hugely inspiring and interesting morning for my Mum who whilst a huge fashionista, isn’t as knowledgeable about the haute couture world as me.
And for any of you lucky souls visiting Marrakech anytime soon, I suggest paying a trip to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, near the Jardin Majorelle. This is most certainly on my bucket list for the future!
If you love fashion and the arts as much as me, please do stop by my Arts and Exhibitions tab where I document some of my favourite art exhibitions throughout the world. There’s much more to come this month alone!
Have any of you been to Musée Yves Saint Laurent? Who else is deeply inspired by the work of Yves Saint Laurent?
“Fashions fade, style is eternal” – Yves Saint Laurent
5 Avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris, France
+33 1 44 31 64 00
Opening Times: Monday (closed), Tuesday- Sunday 11am-6pm