Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal


11 July - 8 November 2015


The Bowes Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent collaborated to create Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life. The YSL show highlighted the defining elements of his vision, and the significant influence it has had on fashion and the way we understand womenswear.

 A view of one of the exhibition themes, 'Art' including the iconic Mondrian dress from the haute couture collection, fall-winter 1965


“Fashion fades, style is eternal” Yves Saint Laurent once said. Articulating this idea, the exhibition presented fifty garments including some iconic pieces from the Russian Collection, the Mondrian dresses and the Tuxedo. The show also opened up a dialogue with The Bowes Museum’s collection, creating a unique sense of narrative around the history of fashion. It inhabits much of the Museum's first floor, including the award-winning Fashion & Textiles Gallery, which has hosted high profile fashion exhibitions such as Vivienne Westwood ShoesStephen Jones HatsHenry Poole & Co Tailoring, a retrospective of Laura Ashley and most recently 'Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers in Fashion'.

 

 

Haute couture including the 'Zephirine dress' (far right) designed by Yves Saint Laurent when working for Dior in 1958


After heading up the Christian Dior fashion house from 1957 to 1960 as Artistic Director, Yves Saint Laurent created his own fashion house with partner Pierre Bergé, with its first catwalk show in 1962. For 40 years, Pierre Bergé managed the business while Yves Saint Laurent focused entirely on the creative side. 

 

Pierre Bergé, on his visit to open the exhibition, fascinated by one of the many films documenting the exquisite talent of his life-long partner, Yves Saint Laurent

In the first twelve years, the designer defined a new style and composed the quintessential elements of the modern woman’s wardrobe: the pea jacket and trench-coat in 1962; the first tuxedo in 1966; the safari jacket and the first trouser suit in 1967; the jumpsuit in 1968. A selection of these iconic garments were on show at The Bowes Museum - an exclusive opportunity for fashion lovers, enthusiasts, designers and students in the UK to have access to some of the 5,000 garments and over 15,000 accessories, drawings, paper patterns and objects conserved and kept by the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent in its archives at 5 avenue Marceau, Paris. 


The Glass Cube in the Fashion & Textiles Gallery has been transformed into Yves Saint Laurent's 'atelier' displaying toiles, buttons & embroidery samples


By making use of male dress codes, the designer brought women a sense of social empowerment whilst retaining their femininity, a sentiment emphasised by Pierre Bergé: “If Chanel gave women their freedom, it was Saint Laurent who empowered them.” Yves Saint Laurent had the ambition to dress all women, not only exclusive haute couture clientele. In 1966, he opened the first ready-to-wear boutique to bear a couturier’s name, SAINT LAURENT rive gauche, opening the way to fashion as we know it today.

 

Beautiful black gauze sails adorned with sketches & quotes greet visitors, with a film of Yves Saint Laurent's final show of 2002 accompanied by Ravel's Boléro


Passionate about the arts, and a collector himself, Yves Saint Laurent paid homage, as early as 1965, to various artists in his haute couture collections, with the famous Mondrian dresses, as well as his homage to Diaghilev and Picasso in 1979 and tributes to Matisse, Cocteau, Braque and Van Gogh in the 1980s, some of which were displayed at The Bowes Museum.


 

  Art & its influences on Yves Saint Laurent's designs - one of the themes in the exhibition


Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal 
highlighted the diverse influences of Yves Saint Laurent. The show explored a number of themes, from art, lace and transparency, and Masculine - Feminine as well as featuring the different eras and styles of his creative career.


Order your exclusive Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal exhibition catalogue online now!

This exhibition was organised by The Bowes Museum in partnership with the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent
This exhibition was supported by Durham County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation and main exhibition sponsor Fenwick

Related Events


Film Nights at The Witham, 17, 24 & 31 July, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 & 27, 28 August, 7.30pm, £5.00 per ticket
Make the most of your visit to this show by combining it with a film...more

Lates! at The Bowes Museum, 23 July, 20 August, 17 September, 22 October, 5.00 – 10.00, £14.00 Adult, £12.00 Concessions

Come and experience the Museum and this exhibition after hours. Café Bowes will be open to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink, and don’t miss the rare opportunity to head to the very top of the building to catch the stunning view of the sunset from the Library. 

Afternoon Tea, 15 August, 1.30pm, Adults £35.00, Friends £30.00
Enjoy a glass of Pimms in the beautiful Museum grounds before viewing this stunning exhibition, then discuss your favourite dresses with your friends over a afternoon tea in the opulent Jubilee Room

Yves Saint Laurent, 28 August, 10.30 – 3.30
Try a selection of crafts linked to this stunning fashion exhibition. Children must be accompanied by an adult, for whom normal admission applies.

Fashion Illustration, 12 September, 9.30 - 5.00, Adults £40.00, Friends £38.00

Join Freelance Fashion Illustrator Frances Moffat to learn how to produce your own mini portfolio fashion illustrations. The workshop will also provide advice on ‘getting started’, winning commissions and marketing your work. Includes morning refreshments, admission to exhibition and all materials.

Knitted Fabric Design, 4 October, 10.00-1.30 & 1.00-4.30, Adults £32.00, Friends £29.00
Join knitwear designer Joan Murray to create your own fabric using a knitting machine to produce your own designs.

Magnificent Millinery, 10 October, 10.00-5.00, Adults £82.00, Friends £79.00

Be inspired by the hats in the exhibition and make a small hat to take away with milliner Claire Spooner.

Filming Fashion: Fashioning Film, 24 October, 10.00 - 6.00,Adults £65.00, Students £20.00
ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM
This symposium brings together scholars and practitioners to consider the dynamic, mutually reinforcing relationship between fashion and film. The symposium, convened by The Bowes Museum and Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, will consider how film influences trends in fashion, and vice versa, how fashion (and the history of fashion) is captured on film, and how the presence of fashion affects cinematic culture. In addition to keynote addresses from Alistair O’Neill and Professor Stella Bruzzi FBA and roundtable discussions on YSL and Film and New Directions in Fashion and Film Studies, participants will be invited to a private viewing of the YSL exhibition and a screening of Yves Saint Laurent, Directed by Jalil Lespert. The symposium will also showcase several projects on fashion and film by early career researchers.

Image Captions


Yves Saint Laurent. Haute couture collection Fall Winter 1970. Marina Schiano wearing the short evening dress © The Estate of Jeanloup Sieff www.jeanloupsieff.com

A view of one of the exhibition themes, 'Art' including the iconic Mondrian dress from the haute couture collection, fall-winter 1965  © Claire Collinson

Haute couture including the 'Zephirine dress' (far right) designed by Yves Saint Laurent when working for Dior in 1958 © Claire Collinson

Pierre Bergé, on his visit to open the exhibition, fascinated by one of the many films documenting the exquisite talent of his life-long partner, Yves Saint Laurent © Claire Collinson

The Glass Cube in the Fashion & Textiles Gallery has been transformed into Yves Saint Laurent's 'atelier' displaying toiles, buttons & embroidery samples © Claire Collinson

Beautiful black gauze sails adorned with sketches & quotes greet visitors, with a film of Yves Saint Laurent's final show of 2002 accompanied by Ravel's Boléro © Claire Collinson

Art & its influences on Yves Saint Laurent's designs - one of the themes in the exhibition © Claire Collinson

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